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

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, a word referring to the business of making fashionable clothes, as well as to the clothes themselves.

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 The YouTube star’s accoutrement, a loaner from Cartier, piqued the internet’s interest. Nancy Macdonell, WSJ, 24 Aug. 2022 From the tips of their antennae to the bottoms of their little insect feet, these human-loving mosquitoes bristle with human-sensing accoutrement, says Leslie Vosshall, a neurobiologist at Rockefeller University. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 18 Aug. 2022 But there are far, far better accoutrement to offer your guests. Emily Heil, Washington Post, 15 Aug. 2022 An accoutrement that has the very important job of keeping a man’s pants up, belts also have the power to complete a look. Marie Lodi, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 June 2022 Tea on Stanley's Terrace comes with all of the traditional accoutrement, as guests are transported back in time thanks to the elegant, historic location. Kelsey Fowler, Travel + Leisure, 3 Jan. 2022 That particular accoutrement will not arrive soon enough for a Spurs team lately struggling to put the ball in the basket. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 21 Nov. 2021 Lorde, ever the trendsetter, attended Wednesday's Guggenheim International Gala in New York City wearing an interesting accoutrement: her own hair as a scarf/necklace/neck-cuff-thing. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 19 Nov. 2021 Working separately but simultaneously in Europe and North America, the pair erected dozens of nest boxes dressed with accoutrement—some feathery, some not—and set up video cameras to tabulate how tits, flycatchers, and swallows might react. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 16 Nov. 2021 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.

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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The first known use of accoutrement was circa 1550

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Last Updated

1 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Accoutrement.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of accoutrement for Spanish Speakers


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