accessory

noun
ac·​ces·​so·​ry | \ ik-ˈse-sə-rē How to pronounce accessory (audio) , ak-, ek-, -ˈses-rē also ə-ˈse-\
variants: or less commonly accessary
plural accessories

Definition of accessory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an object or device that is not essential in itself but adds to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness of something else auto accessories clothing accessories
b : a thing of secondary or lesser importance : adjunct

2 law

a : a person not actually or constructively present but contributing as an assistant or instigator to the commission of an offense

called also accessory before the fact

b : a person who knowing that a crime has been committed aids or shelters the offender with intent to defeat justice

called also accessory after the fact

accessory

adjective

Definition of accessory (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : assisting under the orders of another especially : contributing to a crime but not as the chief agent
2 : aiding or contributing in a secondary way : supplementary accessory materials
3 : present in a minor amount and not essential as a constituent an accessory mineral in a rock

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Synonyms & Antonyms for accessory

Synonyms: Noun

accoutrement (or accouterment), adapter (also adaptor), add-on, adjunct, appendage, appliance, attachment, option

Synonyms: Adjective

accessorial, appurtenant, auxiliary, peripheral, supplemental, supplementary

Antonyms: Adjective

chief, main, principal

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Examples of accessory in a Sentence

Noun

fashion accessories such as scarves, handkerchiefs, bracelets, and rings He is wanted as an accessory to murder.

Adjective

most phone services offer accessory features such as call-waiting
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Hailey Bieber, challenged by her husband, used an ATV as an accessory and then nominated her good friend, Kendall Jenner, who took it to a whole new level. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Kendall Jenner's #BottleCapChallenge Video Is Unreal," 9 July 2019 Oskar Groening, who was being tried on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder. CBS News, "Holocaust survivor and forgiveness advocate Eva Mozes Kor dies at 85," 4 July 2019 Yuba also offers a wide range of accessories, including bamboo decking and sideboards for cargo, bags for grocery runs, and seating options for kids. Aaron Gulley, Outside Online, "Excellent E-Bikes for Racing, Commuting, and Hauling," 4 July 2019 To help you out, Anker is discounting a ton of car accessories and tools—like this fancy car mount. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "The 7 best deals you can get this Wednesday," 3 July 2019 Investigators also arrested Kyana Traylor, 31, and booked her with being an accessory to aggravated battery, aggravated assault and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. Michelle Hunter, nola.com, "2 arrested in Avondale shooting that injured teen, baby," 24 June 2019 Get your pop of white in with an eye-catching accessory like scene-stealing sunnies. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "8 Pretty Ways to Wear Red, White, and Blue This Fourth of July," 21 June 2019 King did not end up testifying against Bemer, a Glastonbury businessman who was convicted of being an accessory to human trafficking and four counts of patronizing a trafficked person. David Owens, courant.com, "Leader of Danbury-based sex trafficking ring sentenced to 4½ years in prison," 19 June 2019 Smith, 20, of Elkridge, Md., has been charged with being an accessory after a crime and was allowed a $10,000 bond Monday. baltimoresun.com, "In deadly Maryland gun store heist, burglars were warned cops were coming. Police say they persisted anyway.," 18 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

While accessory trends lately have been impractical (ahem mini bags), this trend provides utility as well. Teen Vogue, "16 Sunglasses Chains Gigi Hadid (And Your Grandma) Would Approve Of," 3 July 2019 Women with accessory breast tissue can have extra nipples or areolas; this condition is called polythelia. Maggie O'neill, Health.com, "This Woman Started Lactating From Her Vulva After Childbirth—Here’s How That Can Happen," 12 June 2019 Emil Corsillo is the founder of The Hill-Side, the cult men’s accessory brand, and a creative consultant to many insider fashion brands. Matt Hranek, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Visit Norway, According To Two Design Insiders," 3 Dec. 2018 Similarly, in 2015, Austin eased the requirements for accessory dwellings in certain neighborhoods. Lisa Ward, WSJ, "Cities Hope for Big Benefits From Tiny Houses," 26 June 2018 The city previously had restrictive rules on accessory units, generally banning them except those for people 55 and older. Hillary Davis, latimes.com, "Newport begins tweaking ‘granny flat’ rules, including lower parking requirement," 18 May 2018 The council voted 6-2 to allow the following: * Elimination of lot size requirements so accessory units can be built anywhere. Jacqueline Lee, The Mercury News, "Palo Alto ‘granny units’ encouraged by new zoning rules," 9 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accessory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of accessory

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Adjective

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for accessory

Noun

Middle English accessorie, axcessary "person contributing to the commission of an offense," borrowed from Anglo-French accessorie, accessoire, borrowed from Medieval Latin accessōrius "person contributing to the commission of an offense, supplementary material," from Latin access- (stem in derivation of accēdere "to approach") + -ōrius -ory entry 1 — more at accede

Adjective

Middle English accessorie, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin accessōrius — more at accessory entry 1, -ory entry 2

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Statistics for accessory

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for accessory

The first known use of accessory was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for accessory

accessory

noun
ac·​ces·​so·​ry | \ ik-ˈse-sə-rē How to pronounce accessory (audio) , ak-\
plural accessories

Kids Definition of accessory

1 : a person who helps another in doing wrong an accessory to theft
2 : an object or device not necessary in itself but adding to the beauty or usefulness of something else clothing accessories

accessory

adjective
ac·​ces·​so·​ry | \ ik-ˈses-(ə-)rē, ak- How to pronounce accessory (audio) \

Medical Definition of accessory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : aiding, contributing, or associated in a secondary way: as
a : being or functioning as a vitamin accessory food substances
b : associated in position or function with something (as an organ or lesion) usually of more importance the testis and accessory male ducts and glands— B. T. Scheer
2 : supernumerary accessory spleens

accessory

noun
plural accessories

Medical Definition of accessory (Entry 2 of 2)

accessory

noun
ac·​ces·​so·​ry
variants: also accessary \ ik-​ˈse-​sə-​rē, ak-​ How to pronounce accessary (audio) \
plural accessories

Legal Definition of accessory

1 : a person who is not actually or constructively present but with criminal intent contributes as an assistant or instigator to the commission of a felony

called also accessory before the fact

— compare principal in the second degree at principal

Note: The traditional distinction between accessories before the fact and principals, that accessories were not present and principals were present at the commission of the crime, is not recognized under most modern state statutes. Accessories before the fact are usually considered principals.

2 : a person who knowing that a felony has been committed aids, assists, or shelters the offender with the intent to defeat justice

called also accessory after the fact

Note: Many state statutes now omit the term accessory after the fact and instead characterize the accessory as having committed a particular offense, such as obstructing justice.

3 : the crime of being an accessory usually used with to and specifying the crime convicted of murder and accessory to murder— H. B. Zobel — compare substantive crime

Other Words from accessory

accessoryship noun

History and Etymology for accessory

Medieval Latin accessorius subordinate matter, accomplice to a crime, from Latin accedere to go to, agree, assent

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Comments on accessory

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