ac·​cost | \ ə-ˈkȯst How to pronounce accost (audio) , -ˈkäst\
accosted; accosting; accosts

Definition of accost

transitive verb

: to approach and speak to (someone) in an often 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 On his way back to Village Hall for a planning-commission meeting, Warren was accosted by four noisy women at a table outside Sant Ambroeus. Bob Morris, The New Yorker, "How Old Are You, Mr. Mayor?," 19 Aug. 2019 The poor child who picked Scotland out was then accosted by the presiding FIFA officials and ordered to return the ball the cages, no doubt triggering an acute phobia of miniature footballs for the rest of his life., "Morrisons, Donald Trump & a Boozy Rod Stewart: 8 of the Strangest Cup Draws of All Time," 21 June 2019 The mob scenes have followed California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters’ call earlier this year for critics to accost Republicans in public places. Fox News, "Ted Cruz latest Republican accosted after Maxine Waters' call for confrontation," 26 Sep. 2018 Police say Rodriguez had just exited a back door to accompany the waiter to his car when they were accosted and knocked to the ground. Marc Freeman,, "Slaying of Boca restaurant manager shocked community in 2013. Trials for three men finally near.," 12 Sep. 2019 Each has been charged with either assault and battery on a police officer or assault, accosting, affray, or carrying a dangerous weapon. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "Straight Pride Parade fallout: Boston DA wins fight over counter protester arrests," 9 Sep. 2019 During the months those episodes aired, the couple were accosted by locals with strong opinions. New York Times, "‘This Old House’ Turns 40," 5 July 2019 At the Seattle Public Library, a young woman accosts Bernadette, showering her with praise and gratitude for her influential work in architecture, and Bernadette skitters away awkwardly, barely saying a word in response. Maya Phillips, The New Yorker, "“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” and the False Dream That Art Will Fulfill You," 22 Aug. 2019 Protesters that day clashed with police, blocked passengers from boarding planes, and accosted two suspected spies from mainland China, including a reporter for the Chinese state outlet Global Times. Alice Su, Los Angeles Times, "Hong Kong protests: Hundreds of thousands spill out of pro-democracy rally and march across the city," 18 Aug. 2019

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

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for accost

The first known use of accost was in 1567

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More Definitions for accost


How to pronounce accost (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of accost

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


ac·​cost | \ ə-ˈkȯst How to pronounce accost (audio) \
accosted; accosting

Kids Definition of accost

: to approach and speak to angrily or aggressively

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More from Merriam-Webster on accost

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for accost

Spanish Central: Translation of accost

Nglish: Translation of accost for Spanish Speakers

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