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
: equipment, trappings
specifically : a soldier's outfit usually not including clothes and weapons
usually used in plural
: 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
: 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
archaic : the act of accoutring

Did you know?

Tracing Accoutrement Back to Old French

Accoutrement and its rarer 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. The pair's French ancestor, accoutrer, descends from an Old French word meaning "seam" and ultimately traces to the Latin word consuere, meaning "to sew together." Some etymological stitching is visible in another English word: couture, a word referring to the business of making fashionable clothes, as well as to the clothes themselves, is also a descendant of consuere.

Example Sentences

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 Our nigiri is seasoned for the perfect bite — our sushi rice is dressed with our secret vinegar, served at body temperature, and each piece of fish tempered with special attention to any accompanying accoutrement. Chelsea Davis, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2023 Lib starts her assignment with the delicate accoutrement worn in an immaculate manner. Fawnia Soo Hoo, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Jan. 2023 Backyard birds and their accoutrement should stay in the backyard and out of the house to keep the bacteria confined to where the birds live. Jen Christensen, CNN, 18 Jan. 2023 Meanwhile, Ugg slippers are the perfect accoutrement. Laura Jackson, Vogue, 23 Dec. 2022 This is the case with Ötzi the Iceman of Italy and his artifactual accoutrement. Stephen E. Nash, Discover Magazine, 16 June 2016 Give him the prime viewing spot as the season's tree topper—a cheery, festive accoutrement that'll go nicely with that seventh rewatch of It's a Wonderful Life. Grace Smith, Town & Country, 5 Dec. 2022 And what better accoutrement to this sentiment than an optimistic yellow polish? Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 1 Dec. 2022 For an additional $3,765, the Trail Package has a considerable amount of off-road accoutrement. Matt Crisara, Popular Mechanics, 15 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of accoutrement was circa 1550


Dictionary Entries Near accoutrement

Cite this Entry

“Accoutrement.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


variants or accouterment
: an accessory item of clothing or equipment
usually used in plural

More from Merriam-Webster on accoutrement

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