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



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

Synonyms & Antonyms for accessory

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Then an accessory of golden paper, made by local artisans, is added. Fernanda Pérez Sánchez, Vogue, 8 Aug. 2022 His longtime girlfriend, Lori Milliron, was convicted on charges of being an accessory, obstruction of justice, and two counts of perjury, and was found not guilty on three additional counts of perjury. Elisabeth Garber-paul, Rolling Stone, 1 Aug. 2022 Lori Milliron was also found guilty of being an accessory, obstruction of justice, and two counts of perjury. Christine Pelisek,, 1 Aug. 2022 Beyond swimsuits, sandals, and summer dresses, there’s one crucial accessory for warm weather: a stylish pair of sunnies. Malia Griggs, SELF, 27 July 2022 Then and now, the narrative was set: Her story was an accessory, one that would put the male psyche on the line, but ultimately at rest. Lesley Finn, Longreads, 7 July 2022 As for Cannes fashion, one accessory that was almost invisible? Ramin Setoodeh, Variety, 30 May 2022 There are also lots of accessory, including a stapler in gelatin, Golden Ticket, Dundie trophy and ‘World’s Best Boss’ mug. Mark Heim |, al, 15 July 2022 Brandt Walter Osborn, 42, was charged with two counts of accessory after the fact in connection with Giles' and Arzola's deaths. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 6 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The detached two-story garage has plumbing and electricity, and could possibly be an accessory dwelling unit. New York Times, 5 Aug. 2022 The survey shows a marked decrease in accessory dwelling units and other rental space from last year to this year. Jamie Gold, Forbes, 12 July 2022 Other homes in the area are listing even bigger price reductions: a $78,000 cut for a two-bedroom home, and a house with an accessory dwelling unit first listed at $1 million now for sale at $860,000 — a $140,000 price cut. Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times, 14 June 2022 The garage and basement might be permitted as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) for additional living space, according to marketing materials. oregonlive, 19 June 2022 The bold tie was apparently accessory enough, because Chastain paired the halter dress (Ralph Lauren, according to her stylist Elizabeth Stewart on Instagram) with black platform sandals and that’s it. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 15 June 2022 The creation of an accessory unit may require additional parking, unless the home is within a half-mile of public transit or within a historic district, among other exceptions. Blake Nelsonstaff Reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 May 2022 The Arts & Crafts Beading, crochet, and other crafty materials are an easy way to add some personality to your accessory collection. Nicole Kliest, Vogue, 1 May 2022 These special Ram models are more than just trucks with the gamut of items in the accessory catalog attached to them, as Mopar curates the pickups to create vehicles that stand out from their stablemates. Gregory Fink, Car and Driver, 18 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of accessory


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for accessory


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


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

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Time Traveler for accessory

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near accessory



accessory apartment

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Statistics for accessory

Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Accessory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for accessory


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


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


plural accessories

Medical Definition of accessory (Entry 2 of 2)


variants: also accessary \ ik-​ˈse-​sə-​rē, ak-​ How to pronounce accessory (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

More from Merriam-Webster on accessory

Nglish: Translation of accessory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of accessory for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about accessory


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