ac·​cou·​tre·​ment | \ ə-ˈkü-trə-mənt How to pronounce accoutrement (audio) , ə-ˈkü-tər-mənt How to pronounce accoutrement (audio) \
variants: or accouterment \ ə-​ˈkü-​tər-​mənt How to pronounce accouterment (audio) \

Definition of accoutrement

1a : 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 pluralShops 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

Keep scrolling for more

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."

Examples of accoutrement in a Sentence

this vacuum cleaner has all of the accoutrements for cleaning furniture as well as floors has all the accoutrements that the home pastry chef could ever want
Recent Examples on the Web Written, directed and produced entirely by women, Harlots features all the typical period piece accoutrements -- powdered wigs, European opulence, corsets, male chauvinism -- with the exception being its anachronistic soundtrack. Morena Duwe, Billboard, "Rael Jones Delivers Electronic Music to the 18th Century With His Score for Hulu's 'Harlots': Interview," 26 Aug. 2019 But where some game series fill their sequels with a cool mix of boundary-pushing risks and familiar delights, Gears 5 sees fit to cover an all-too-familiar core with a bunch of tinsel and accoutrements. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Gears 5 review: An obvious gaming recommendation—if you already paid for it," 10 Sep. 2019 The second course is a cold appetizer of Capicola ham, prosciutto and hard salami with assorted cheesed and accoutrements. Sam Boyer,, "Community park gets a facelift: Whit & Whimsey," 6 Sep. 2019 Plenty of stores are slated to stay open, so people can still get all their holiday accoutrements before sundown. Wilder Davies, Time, "Here's Everything That's Open and Closed on July 4th 2019," 3 July 2019 Though the luxury label already offers accoutrements such as band rings, necklaces and cuffs, the new pieces mark the brand's first comprehensive men's collection. Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, "Shop Talk: Meghan Markle-Loved Label Everlane's First L.A. Store, Rolling Stones Collab Designs at Maxfield," 23 Aug. 2019 The movie begins with a broader view of this trend, presenting the latest mourning accoutrements being sold at a funeral convention. Annika Neklason, The Atlantic, "HBO’s New Documentary Asks You to Talk About Death," 20 Aug. 2019 For a few dollars more, customers can get accoutrements such as Bluetooth speakers, board games and flower bouquets. Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "Newest Camping Adventure: During the Day and in the City," 18 June 2019 Beside her in the carriage, the first in the royal procession, Queen Elizabeth II wore a cornflower hat with rose accoutrements and matching coat and dress. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Is Killing the Hat Game at the Royal Ascot," 18 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of accoutrement

circa 1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for accoutrement

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about accoutrement

Listen to Our Podcast about accoutrement

Statistics for accoutrement

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for accoutrement

The first known use of accoutrement was circa 1550

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for accoutrement


How to pronounce accoutrement (audio) How to pronounce accoutrement (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of accoutrement

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

More from Merriam-Webster on accoutrement

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for accoutrement

Nglish: Translation of accoutrement for Spanish Speakers

Comments on accoutrement

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


the exactly right word or phrasing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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