cos·​tume | \ ˈkä-ˌstüm How to pronounce costume (audio) , -ˌstyüm also -stəm or ˈkäs-ˌchüm How to pronounce costume (audio) \

Definition of costume

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the prevailing fashion in coiffure, jewelry, and apparel of a period, country, or class
2 : an outfit worn to create the appearance characteristic of a particular period, person, place, or thing Halloween costumes
3 : a person's ensemble of outer garments especially : a woman's ensemble of dress with coat or jacket


cos·​tume | \ kä-ˈstüm How to pronounce costume (audio) , -ˈstyüm also käs-ˈchüm; or ˈkä-ˌst(y)üm or ˈkäs-ˌchüm How to pronounce costume (audio) or -stəm How to pronounce costume (audio) \
costumed; costuming

Definition of costume (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to provide with a costume
2 : to design costumes for costume a play


cos·​tume | \ ˈkä-ˌstüm How to pronounce costume (audio) , -ˌstyüm also -stəm or ˈkäs-ˌchüm \

Definition of costume (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : characterized by the use of costumes a costume ball a costume drama
2 : suitable for or enhancing the effect of a particular costume a costume handbag

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Other Words from costume


costumey adjective

Examples of costume in a Sentence

Noun children in their Halloween costumes a formal 18th-century Japanese costume Verb the days when people, costumed in their Sunday best, would parade along the grand avenue on Easter Adjective You're invited to a costume party!
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun About 30 people took part, including Vanessa Lopez, who now works in the costume shop at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Deborah Martin,, "San Antonio artists and performers are responding to Black Lives Matter protests," 17 June 2020 Dog Days at Drexel: There will be vendors, dog costume contests, canine agility demonstrations, and more from 4 to 9 p.m. July 24 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 25 at Drexel Town Square, 361 W. Town Square Way. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "From concerts to festivals, here are 71 events still scheduled for Milwaukee's suburbs this summer," 17 June 2020 The Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport is now out of the job, and the putative reason is one extremely familiar in our era’s culture wars: a racist costume. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "It’s Not Callout Culture. It’s Accountability.," 16 June 2020 Razorfly's non-vehicular props have appeared on a sci-fi series that earned an International Academy of Web Television award for best costume design in 2014, and Mark dreams of someday creating original custom cars for the big screen. Talon Homer, Car and Driver, "The Cars Are the Stars: The Art of Replicating Hollywood's Famous Rides," 14 June 2020 That tweet featured a screenshot of a 2013 Instagram photo by Rapoport's wife that depicted the two dressed in costume. CBS News, "Bon Appetit editor Adam Rapaport resigns over Halloween costume photo," 11 June 2020 Fabricating Warwick’s costume in the Creature shop. James Hibberd,, "Star Wars Ewoks without fur are terrifying," 11 June 2020 Dallas Vintage Shop is a 20-year-old costume store in Plano. Natalie Walters, Dallas News, "7 local DFW shops to buy fashionable face masks from this summer," 10 June 2020 The photo showed a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan costume. Sarah Rankin And Elana Schor, USA TODAY, "Jerry Falwell Jr. apologizes for tweet that included racist photo after black alumni denounce him," 9 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That’s where the lighting and the costuming reflect this idea of reappropriating the history. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, "How a Surprise Punk Rock Gig Prepared George MacKay for 'True History of the Kelly Gang'," 23 Apr. 2020 In addition to the variable quality of the sketches, the show was marked by different degrees of technical polish, picture quality, sound quality and costuming. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Saturday Night Live’ returns in a remote-from-home coronavirus quarantine episode," 12 Apr. 2020 More than 1,000 people showed up Saturday to support the Frates family and remember Pete, and hundreds ran into the icy waves, many costumed as wildlife such as a reindeer, a duck, or a shark, or as cartoon characters or celebrities., "“We are celebrating Pete before ALS now,” Nancy Frates said in an interview Saturday, her son’s 35th birthday, less than three weeks after his death due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. “We didn’t allow ourselves to do that when he was still with us. And now we are celebrating who he was.”," 29 Dec. 2019 As in the first two seasons, the acting, costuming and production design are highlights of the series. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: In Season 3, ‘The Crown’ isn’t really about Queen Elizabeth anymore," 15 Nov. 2019 The group, known for its grisly staging, costuming and theatrics, is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lauren Beale,, "Rocker Alice Cooper is among celebs who have called this Beverly Crest spot home," 1 July 2019 Meanwhile, Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake went meta while making a case for the non-cheesy couples costume with Biel dressing as Timberlake at the height of his boy band fame in *NSYNC, while Timberlake came attired as her microphone. Cady Lang, Time, "From the Ghoulish to the Glamorous, These Are the Best, Most Outrageous Celebrity Halloween Costumes of 2019," 28 Oct. 2019 In his press conference, Ghosn also spent almost five minutes defending a lavish party held in Versailles, the French palace, from which pictures have emerged of entertainers costumed as Marie Antoinette and her entourage. Eric C. Evarts, Fortune, "What was Carlos Ghosn Thinking in Pulling off His Great Escape? A Former Colleague Offers Clues," 13 Jan. 2020 The principal singers will be costumed by British designer Zandra Rhodes and some scenery and stage lighting will be used. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fall arts 2019 | Classical music: Rafael Payare, Danish String Quartet, ‘Aida’ and more," 15 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The New York native began his career as a costume designer. Stephanie Toone, ajc, "Joel Schumacher, director of ‘The Lost Boys,’ ‘Batman,’ dies at age 80," 22 June 2020 His entry to film came first as a costume designer. Jake Coyle,, "Joel Schumacher, director of ‘St. Elmo’s Fire,’ dies at 80," 22 June 2020 And the city’s richest man was Victor Sassoon, a Jazz Age Richard Branson who gave costume parties in the ballroom of his swanky Cathay Hotel. Hugo Restall, WSJ, "‘The Last Kings of Shanghai’ Review: Bund Traders," 19 June 2020 According to Nancy Steiner, the film’s costume designer, these clothes weren’t just a reflection of their familial circumstances, but a fairly normal occurrence in the United States at the time. Irina Grechko,, "An Ode To Virgin Suicides, The Film That Introduced The Fashion Nightgown," 23 May 2020 Face masks are being sewn by artists, dressmakers, and just about everyone else (New Orleanians have dedicated costume closets). Arthur Longworth, The New York Review of Books, "Pandemic Journal, April 6–12," 12 Apr. 2020 The actor is survived by his second wife, costume designer Jennifer Arnott, and their two children, Cormac and Sarah. NBC News, "Brian Dennehy, veteran actor known for roles in 'Tommy Boy' and 'First Blood,' dies at 81," 16 Apr. 2020 Instead, the actors danced with the audience, gave them costume pieces and invited them to say lines of dialogue, shared food with them, played games together and even slid down a huge slide. Dallas News, "Art and the City: A love letter to Dallas theater, and how storytelling can help us through crisis," 11 Apr. 2020 Scenic and costume designer Nephelie Andonyadis also masterminded the Nevelson-esque sculptures that appear at one point, a haunting glimpse of mystery and genius (created with props designer Pam Weiner). Celia Wren, Washington Post, "At Theater J, Albee’s ‘Occupant’ takes a lifeless look at the life of Louise Nevelson," 16 Nov. 2019

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


1668, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1800, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for costume


French, from Italian, custom, dress, from Latin consuetudin-, consuetudo custom — more at custom

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Time Traveler for costume

Time Traveler

The first known use of costume was in 1668

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Statistics for costume

Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Costume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for costume


How to pronounce costume (audio) How to pronounce costume (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of costume

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the clothes that are worn by someone (such as an actor) who is trying to look like a different person or thing
: the clothes worn by a group of people especially during a particular time in the past


How to pronounce costume (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of costume (Entry 2 of 2)

: involving people wearing costumes


cos·​tume | \ ˈkäs-ˌtüm How to pronounce costume (audio) , -ˌtyüm \

Kids Definition of costume

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : special or fancy dress (as for wear on the stage or at a masquerade)
2 : style of clothing, ornaments, and hair used during a certain period, in a certain region, or by a certain class or group ancient Roman costume peasant costume


costumed; costuming

Kids Definition of costume (Entry 2 of 2)

: to provide with a special or fancy outfit

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