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

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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.

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 From what looks like a royal jewel chest, a server pulls tiny drawers housing accoutrements—hoisin, scallions, matchsticks of cucumber, pickles, honeydew melon—then demonstrates the optimal technique for wrapping slices of meat and garnishes into bing pancakes, plucked from a bamboo steamer. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, 4 Nov. 2023 Come for the candles and the pottery, stay for the local kitchen accoutrements, like blood orange olive oil from Los Olivos Olive Oil Company and Santa Ynez sage blossom honey. Maya Kachroo-Levine, Travel + Leisure, 22 Aug. 2023 Labels like Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, and Victoria Beckham showed perfectly oversized knits styled with exceptionally cozy accoutrements like leggings and winter scarves. Jake Smith, Glamour, 17 Aug. 2023 Those looking for extra space will certainly find it in one of the 30 suites, which along with all the usual accoutrements include a lounge, personal bar, and cocktail station. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 11 Sep. 2023 The kitchen prepares meat, cheese, and combination boards with accoutrements like spreads, nuts, and produce. Alex Darus, cleveland, 11 Sep. 2023 Or are your daughters just going bead-crazy and providing you with more wrist accoutrement? Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 6 Sep. 2023 One model, painted Klein blue, drips with beads, feathers, and preserved flowers, some accoutrements formed into the shapes of eyes and hands. Nathan Heller, Vogue, 29 Aug. 2023 This set comes with all the requisite accoutrements, from stickers and glitter tape to custom frames. Jasmine Gomez, Women's Health, 29 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'accoutrement.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 4 Dec. 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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