ac·​co·​lade ˈa-kə-ˌlād How to pronounce accolade (audio)
: a mark of acknowledgment : award
received the highest accolade of his profession
: an expression of praise
a movie that has drawn accolades from both fans and critics
: a ceremonial embrace
: a ceremony or salute conferring knighthood
music : a brace or a line used in music to join two or more staffs carrying simultaneous parts

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What is the origin of accolade?

Accolade was borrowed into English in the 16th century from French. The French noun, in turn, derives from the verb accoler, which means "to embrace," and ultimately from the Latin term collum, meaning "neck." (Collum is also an ancestor of the English word collar.) When it was first borrowed from French, accolade referred to a ceremonial embrace that once marked the conferring of knighthood. The term was later extended to any ceremony conferring knighthood (such as the more familiar tapping on the shoulders with the flat part of a sword's blade), and eventually extended to honors or awards in general.

Examples of accolade in a Sentence

There is no higher accolade at this school than an honorary degree. for their exceptional bravery the firefighters received accolades from both local and national officials
Recent Examples on the Web Five Pro Bowls, two first-team All-Pro designations and many more accolades have many believing Mahomes is pegged for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Scott Thompson, Fox News, 19 Sep. 2023 Broadway Actor Chris Peluso, Who Starred in 'Mamma Mia!' and 'Wicked,' Dead at 40 Other accolades earned by McGrath during his decades-long stage career include a Drama Desk Award (plus two additional nominations), an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Theatre World Award. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 15 Sep. 2023 In the last 50 years, MTC has earned 28 Tony Awards, seven Pulitzer Prizes, 49 Obie Awards and countless other accolades. Sophia Scorziello, Variety, 13 Sep. 2023 Milam & Greene’s CEO and master blender, Heather Greene, was recently recognized as master blender of the year at the Women of Whiskey (WOW) Awards, an accolade that this writer turned whiskey maker has clearly earned. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 11 Sep. 2023 Instead of the national tour that might have followed such an accolade, Chicago audiences experienced an entirely new production staged by TimeLine and presented by Broadway in Chicago at its Magnificent Mile venue, the Broadway Playhouse. Emily McClanathan, Chicago Tribune, 11 Sep. 2023 This isn’t a career that’s defined by championships and accolades, but by the people impacted and lives changed. Town & Country, 5 Sep. 2023 Virginia Union was coming off a 9-2 season and merited national accolades. Marc Bona, cleveland, 3 Sep. 2023 Venus Williams' Pre-Game 'Fit Venus Williams may not have won her match at the US Open this week, but her pre-game outfit was worthy of every fashion accolade. Emily Kirkpatrick, Peoplemag, 1 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'accolade.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Middle French acolade, accolade "embrace," from acoler "to embrace" (going back to Old French, from a-, prefix forming transitive verbs—going back to Latin ad- ad-— + col "neck," going back to Latin collum) + -ade -ade — more at collar entry 1

First Known Use

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Time Traveler
The first known use of accolade was in 1591


Dictionary Entries Near accolade

Cite this Entry

“Accolade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ac·​co·​lade ˈak-ə-ˌlād How to pronounce accolade (audio)
: a formal salute (as a tap on the shoulder with the blade of a sword) that marks the conferring of knighthood
: a mark of recognition of merit : praise

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