accessory

noun
ac·​ces·​so·​ry | \ik-ˈse-sə-rē, 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

Additionally, for Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, Google’s sales will also center on accessories for the home, including the new Google Home Hub, Nest devices, and Chromecast dongles. Natt Garun, The Verge, "Google Home Hub, Pixel 3, and Pixelbook are all getting discounts on Black Friday," 15 Nov. 2018 Look no further than the Spring 2019 runways, where playful hair accessories ran rampant: Miu Miu sent out understated bow headbands, and children and adults alike will be coveting Simone Rocha’s dreamy feather headbands come January. Anny Choi, Vogue, "This Season’s Hero Stocking Stuffer? Hair Accessories!," 14 Nov. 2018 The Shield also works like a pseudo game console with Nvidia's GeForce Now streaming service, though this deal doesn't include the company's game-controller accessory. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: Take 22% off an Nvidia Shield TV 4K media streamer," 13 Nov. 2018 While this new take on a classic was fashionable enough on its own, Bella upped the ensemble's edginess with the addition of matching leopard print accessories. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Bella Hadid Wore Denim on Denim," 20 Oct. 2018 Shortly after arriving at Bondi Beach, the duchess received an unexpected accessory to complete her look—a pink floral lei. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Wore a Striped Martin Grant Dress for a Walk on Bondi Beach in Sydney," 18 Oct. 2018 Royal watchers have noticed that Prince Harry has been wearing an unexpected accessory during his royal tour of Australia with Meghan Markle. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Story Behind Prince Harry's Surprising New Ring," 18 Oct. 2018 Pixel Stand The Pixel 3 supports wireless charging (for the first time in a Pixel phone), and this feature is supported by a new $79 hardware accessory called Pixel Stand. Jon Phillips, PCWorld, "Google Pixel 3: The 5 features that matter most," 9 Oct. 2018 An Idea Emerges Monica Zwirner and Lucy Wallace Eustice launched their handbag brand, MZ Wallace, in 2000 with a mission to provide high-quality accessories for women. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Show You "Give a Damn" With This New Bag Benefitting She Should Run," 5 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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

18 Nov 2018

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, 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- \

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-​ \
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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