accoutrement

noun
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 accoutrement (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 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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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 Zhuzh up your balcony and patios with chic outdoor accoutrement like tall hurricane lanterns, raffia coolers, wicker benches. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, "Refresh Your Interior Spaces by Shopping These Spring Sales," 13 Mar. 2021 In the days after the show premiered, the Danish internet overflowed with memes flaunting female versions of Dillermand, some sporting the appropriately gigantic genital accoutrement, or a tangle of unspooling breasts. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "The Problem With This Kids’ Show Isn’t Just the Giant Penis," 26 Feb. 2021 Now that the face mask has become the essential accoutrement of our lives, the COVID pandemic has laid bare our fundamental need to see whole faces. David J. Lewkowicz, Scientific American, "Masks Can Be Detrimental to Babies' Speech and Language Development," 11 Feb. 2021 Tina Knowles-Lawson, the singer's mother, also uploaded a selfie of herself donning the new accoutrement. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé Just Gave Her Inner Circle of Girlfriends the Cheekiest Gift," 30 Dec. 2020 Uncommon Catering & Eatery’s got New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day charcuterie and accoutrement boards available for pre-order, all sizes. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Ring in 2021 with a bang & a bite," 23 Dec. 2020 There are, however, some decent deals on various Xbox accoutrement kicking around today. Lee Neikirk, USA TODAY, "Cyber Monday 2020: The best Xbox Series X, Series S and Xbox one deals," 30 Nov. 2020 Remember when advertising on outfield walls was a tacky accoutrement better suited for minor league teams? Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "From expanded playoffs to sponsored jerseys: Four ways MLB's shortened season may permanently alter the game," 18 June 2020 Chocolate Iced Kreme Filled, Strawberry Iced Kreme Filled, Cake Batter Filled, and Yellow Iced Original Glazed—with fitting numeral accoutrements for the occasion. Southern Living, "Krispy Kreme Debuts Limited-Edition "Graduate Dozen" and High School and College Grads Can Get Them for Free," 12 May 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for accoutrement

Time Traveler

The first known use of accoutrement was circa 1550

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Last Updated

17 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Accoutrement.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accoutrement. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for accoutrement

accoutrement

noun

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

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