accoutrement

noun ac·cou·tre·ment \ ə-ˈkü-trə-mənt , -ˈkü-tər-mənt \
variants: or accouterment

Definition of accoutrement

1 a :equipment, trappings; specifically :a soldier's outfit usually not including clothes and weapons usually used in plural
b :an accessory item of clothing or equipment usually used in plural
  • Shops offering the physical accoutrements of polite manners—lace, gloves, linen underclothing, snuff, and gentleman's powdered wigs …
  • —Arthur Herman
2 :an identifying and often superficial characteristic or device usually used in plural
  • … some of the other accouterments of power that define our diplomacy.
  • —Elizabeth Drew
3 archaic :the act of accoutring

accoutrement was our Word of the Day on 08/27/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of accoutrement in a Sentence

  1. this vacuum cleaner has all of the accoutrements for cleaning furniture as well as floors

  2. has all the accoutrements that the home pastry chef could ever want

Recent Examples of accoutrement from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accoutrement.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Tracing accoutrement Back to Old French

Accoutrement and its relative "accoutre," a verb meaning "to provide with equipment or furnishings" or "to outfit," have been appearing in English texts since the 16th century. Today both words have variant spellings - "accouterment" and "accouter." Their French ancestor, accoutrer, descends from an Old French word meaning "seam" and ultimately traces to the Latin word consuere, meaning "to sew together." You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that "consuere" is also an ancestor of couture, meaning "the business of designing fashionable custom-made women's clothing."

Origin and Etymology of accoutrement

borrowed from Middle French accoutrement, accoustrement, from accoutrer "to accoutre" + -ment -ment


ACCOUTREMENT Defined for English Language Learners

accoutrement

noun

Definition of accoutrement for English Language Learners

  • : a piece of clothing or equipment that is used in a particular place or for a particular activity



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up accoutrement? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

pleasing or sweet sound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Forms of Government Quiz

  • knupfer-painting-solon-before-croesus
  • A gerontocracy is rule by:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!