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 Next to him, a swarm of servers placed several accoutrements next to it, including harissa oil, garlic-tahini salt and fresh herbs. Keith Pandolfi, The Enquirer, 15 Mar. 2024 But the mouse has receded into the shadows and there adapted to a smaller niche, sprouting strange new features and accoutrements. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 24 Jan. 2024 Briny tinned fish and salted butter are served as accoutrements for crackers and fresh bread. Detroit Free Press, 6 Mar. 2024 With a length that is six feet smaller, this boat is just as creative with yacht-y accoutrements, along with attention to detail that cements Tiara’s next-generation ambitions. Kevin Koenig, Robb Report, 5 Mar. 2024 Host Aidy Bryant made use of the location by trying to get a beach party started inside the tent by bringing out all the necessary accoutrements, including beach balls, hot dogs and a few shirtless men in board shorts. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Feb. 2024 Price: $15 Female-founded in Tennessee, this artisan ice cream company oozes Southern charm, not to mention a variety of sweet and salty accoutrements that take their already rich and creamy base to a whole different level. Lois Alter Mark, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 That sizzling, high-shine gown looked all the more arresting for its piratical accoutrements. Alice Newbold, Glamour, 10 Feb. 2024 Thompson and his team were tasked with making period-accurate musical accoutrements that were also practical. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Dec. 2023

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 18 May. 2024.

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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