ap·​par·​el | \ ə-ˈper-əl How to pronounce apparel (audio) , -ˈpa-rəl\

Definition of apparel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : personal attire : clothing of a particular kind dressed in fine apparel used chiefly in U.S. English to refer to clothing that is being sold in stores a new line of women's apparelathletic apparel
2 : the equipment (such as sails and rigging) of a ship
3 : something that clothes or adorns the bright apparel of spring


ap·​par·​el | \ ə-ˈper-əl How to pronounce apparel (audio) , -ˈpa-rəl\
appareled or apparelled; appareling or apparelling

Definition of apparel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to put clothes on : dress was formally appareled [=was wearing formal clothes]
2 : adorn, embellish accused of appareling the truth

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Examples of apparel in a Sentence


a sale on summer apparel for women


a designer who regularly apparels several of the presenters at the Oscar ceremonies

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The sharply higher tariffs on Chinese goods are set to raise prices for consumers on everything from phones and video consoles to apparel and shoes. Rachel Layne, CBS News, "Business groups press Trump to postpone new China tariffs," 28 Aug. 2019 The new, kid-friendly retail experience will showcase more than 450 toys and games, apparel and accessories featuring everything from beloved Disney classics to Disney princesses, Marvel characters and Star Wars. Doreen Christensen,, "Disney to open 25 stores inside Target this fall," 26 Aug. 2019 Some apparel and electronics makers have been moving out of China, propelled lately by the U.S. slapping ever higher import tariffs on goods made in China. Jeanne Whalen, Washington Post, "Trump ‘hereby’ orders U.S. business out of China. Can he do that?," 23 Aug. 2019 One key measure of U.S. inflation increased in July, driven by costs of shelter, apparel and used cars, and gained the most in a decade in the past two months, the Labor Department reported this month. Hailey Waller, Time, "President Trump Says U.S. Is 'Doing Very Well With China' Amid Continuing Trade Talks," 18 Aug. 2019 Students donned rainbow apparel and accessories and waved rainbow flags at their season-opening football game. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Catholic school controversy: Rainbow streamers welcome back Cathedral students," 8 Aug. 2019 While apparel and school supplies remain perennial staples of back-to-school shopping, families are increasingly buying computers, cell phones and tablets as technology seeps into children's classroom and social life. Paul Takahashi, Houston Chronicle, "Back-to-school costs add up for Houston families," 6 Aug. 2019 Patagonia Boulder later this year plans to move four blocks east from its location at 1212 Pearl St. The outdoor apparel and equipment retailer will move to a bigger location at 1630 Pearl St. by mid-November, store manager Gannon Hartnett said. Pratik Joshi, The Denver Post, "Boulder Patagonia store to move to a bigger location on East Pearl," 5 Aug. 2019 This is in addition to shoppers receiving a tax break on qualifying apparel and footwear at participating Beachwood Place retailers from Friday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 4., "Cedar Fairmount SummerFest, Judy Collins concert at Cain Park are Aug. 10; Press Run," 2 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The hilarious picture, also shows Smalling donning some Manchester United coloured shorts at a young age, paired with what can only be described as a beautiful Ghost Busters appareled blouse., "Chris Smalling Reckons He's Found a Better Alternative to New iPhone in Hilarious Tweet," 18 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apparel.' 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 apparel


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for apparel


Middle English apparaile, apparell "furnishings, equipment, dress," borrowed from Anglo-French apparail, noun derivative of apparailler "to prepare, equip, dress" — more at apparel entry 2


Middle English apparailen, apareilen "to prepare, equip, dress," borrowed from Anglo-French apparailler, apareiller, going back to Vulgar Latin *appariculāre, probably verbal derivative of *appariculum, re-formation (with Latin -culum, suffix of instrument) of Latin apparātus "act of preparing, equipment, apparatus"

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Learn More about apparel

Statistics for apparel

Last Updated

3 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for apparel

The first known use of apparel was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for apparel



English Language Learners Definition of apparel

formal : clothing of a particular kind


ap·​par·​el | \ ə-ˈper-əl How to pronounce apparel (audio) \

Kids Definition of apparel

: things that are worn : clothing summer apparel

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Comments on apparel

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recurring in steady succession

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