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

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 Former state senator James Marzilli, who was convicted of accosting four women, and Thomas Scully, a Beverly library worker who pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, won Supreme Judicial Court rulings. Matt Rocheleau,, "As State Police overtime probe intensifies, troopers race to lock in pensions and retire," 2 July 2018 Then came Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) being accosted at a screening of a Mister Rogers documentary (of all things). Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "A good offense may be best defense for House GOP," 25 June 2018 Animal-at-large, Osborn Road: On April 12 a resident reported the while walking her 10-month-old Labradoodle, a large Saint Bernard and a smaller white fluffy dog left a yard and accosted the woman. Julie A. Short/special To,, "Two dogs accost resident, dog: Bay Village Police Blotter," 20 Apr. 2018 Investigators say that shortly before Atwood was run over on June 8, he was accosted by three attackers — ages 21, 17 and 15 — who robbed him of his backpack and forced him into the ravine. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "Police: Hit-and-run victim had crawled on to roadway after being severely beaten," 22 June 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

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for accost

The first known use of accost was in 1567

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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

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