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

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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



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

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formed or used for a special purpose

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