ac·​cost | \ə-ˈkȯst, -ˈkäst\
accosted; accosting; accosts

Definition of accost 

transitive verb

: to approach and speak to (someone) often in a challenging or aggressive way He was accosted by a stranger on the street.

Examples of accost in a Sentence

He was accosted by three gang members on the subway. She was so famous that people would accost her on the street and ask for an autograph.

Recent Examples on the Web

That was the basic premise behind the latest episode of Billy on the Street, the man-on-the-street quiz show that features Eichner and his famous pals basically accosting New York City civilians all in the name of pop culture. Dan Barna, Glamour, "Billy Eichner and Tiffany Haddish Want to Do a 'Woke' Remake of Hocus Pocus," 24 Oct. 2018 But then, a neighbor accosted Kaderbhai Ali Asgar and his wife, Sehera Ali Asgar, and their accompanying Realtors. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "He threatened to burn this couple's home down if they moved in. Now, he's doing time.," 12 June 2018 Two males accosted a male pedestrian and demanded his property at gunpoint. Lisa M. Bolton, Washington Post, "Crime reports for Anne Arundel and Howard counties and for Annapolis," 27 June 2018 Endicott, Boston’s chief homicide prosecutor and the novel’s narrator, is out and about in Back Bay with her boyfriend, Ty, when they’re accosted by a stranger toting a Glock and demanding drugs. Marilyn Stasio, New York Times, "Dangerous Disappearing Acts, With Killers in Pursuit," 8 June 2018 In the book, author Tyson wrote that Donham told him her testimony about Till accosting her wasn't true. Jay Reeves, Anchorage Daily News, "‘New information’ prompts US to reopen investigation of brutal 1955 slaying of black teen," 12 July 2018 In the book, author Tyson wrote that Donham told him her testimony about Till accosting her wasn't true. Jay Reeves, Fox News, "Official: Renewed Emmett Till probe prompted by 2017 book," 12 July 2018 Barber, who was 16 at the time, bought a shirt and was walking out with two other teens, one of whom had joined them at the store, when a large plainclothes security officer accosted them. Ann Doss Helms, charlotteobserver, "He was suspended, then things got worse. But this CMS teen never gave up.," 7 June 2018 Filipino fishermen have been accosted by China in the past but have been allowed back to Scarborough Shoal’s area to fish. Jim Gomez, The Seattle Times, "Philippines says it told China of ‘red lines’ in sea feud," 28 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accost.' 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 accost

1567, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for accost

borrowed from Middle French accoster, going back to Old French, "to go alongside of, sail along the coast of, place (a vessel) beside another" (sʼacoster a "to take a place beside, draw near, support"), probably going back to Vulgar Latin *accostāre, from Latin ad- ad- + costa "rib, side" — more at coast entry 1

Note: A common, polysemous verb in Anglo-French, though the English verb, which only begins to appear in the late 16th century, is apparently borrowed directly from Continental French. The sense "to approach and speak to" only appears in French in the early 17th century, about the same time that it appears in English.

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Statistics for accost

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for accost

The first known use of accost was in 1567

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More Definitions for accost



English Language Learners Definition of accost

: to approach and speak to (someone) often in an angry, aggressive, or unwanted way


ac·​cost | \ə-ˈkȯst \
accosted; accosting

Kids Definition of accost

: to approach and speak to angrily or aggressively

More from Merriam-Webster on accost

Spanish Central: Translation of accost

Nglish: Translation of accost for Spanish Speakers

Comments on accost

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