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 The global accolades for Earps are all the more remarkable considering that just two years ago, she was not included among the three goalkeepers selected for the Great Britain Olympic squad and was contemplating her future in the game. Asif Burhan, Forbes, 28 Nov. 2023 The three new accolades brought her total of Guinness World Records to 10. Stephanie Sengwe, Peoplemag, 28 Nov. 2023 But beyond the accolades, the critical reception often included backhanded — sometimes bordering on misogynistic — disparagements of the protagonist. Seija Rankin, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Nov. 2023 The building used to be known as Paradise Park Trailer Park bar, and the rooftop is where Brooks celebrated in 2019 after winning his seventh CMA entertainer of the year accolade. Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 24 Nov. 2023 For all the accolades officials gave for reopening the 10 in days rather than weeks, state leaders have publicly said little about the precise damage caused by the fire, exactly how Caltrans plans to make fixes and how much the repairs will cost. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2023 Brade points out that British stockbroker Nicholas Winton, who was knighted for saving 669 Czech refugee children during the war—a rescue effort coordinated with Wijsmuller’s help—earned accolades for his righteous actions, while Wijsmuller was largely overlooked. Cari Shane, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Nov. 2023 Season two was only released in June but will no doubt go on to earn similar accolades. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 7 Nov. 2023 Lev-Ram: Don’t forget, Alan, another accolade to throw in here. Fortune Editors, Fortune, 9 Nov. 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 9 Dec. 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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