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

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!
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Spider-Man character’s classic costume, complete with wide-eyed and web-patterned mask, is a key ingredient to the character’s appeal across race, gender and nationality. Aaron Morrison, ajc, 9 Aug. 2022 Artsy video interludes were understandable necessities to allow for set and costume changes, but their duration often decelerated the momentum. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 9 Aug. 2022 Some of the anachronisms clashing with the mostly 18th-century costume design—such as Almaviva’s Mormon missionary disguise—were genuinely funny; others, like having Bartolo (Kevin Burdette) do a yoga routine in mid-aria, were distracting. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, 9 Aug. 2022 At a costume gala in Sweden, Queen Margrethe wore a Elizabethan era-inspired get up. Emily Burack, Town & Country, 6 Aug. 2022 Sets, Beowulf Borritt; costume, Toni-Leslie James; lighting, Aaron Copp; sound design, Kai Harada; production stage manager, David S. Franklin. Cast: Mike Birbiglia. Peter Debruge, Variety, 5 Aug. 2022 Historical interpreters, many in period costume, re-enact the chores that kept a farm going, from cooking and spinning yarn to throwing pottery and blowing glass. cleveland, 5 Aug. 2022 There's also the annual Freakers Ball Annual Halloween costume party. Annie O’sullivan, Good Housekeeping, 3 Aug. 2022 About half past ten o’clock the Knights paraded through the city, in knightly costume headed by the National Grays Band. Mary Ann Ashcraft, Baltimore Sun, 30 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb From themed parties to costume contests, there’s tons to do. San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 July 2022 Mabel teaches her how to count, gives her treats and sews her beautiful dresses (a nod here to costume designer Mirren Gordon-Crozier’s fine work). Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 July 2022 Fashion designer Michael Kors asked Anne Hathaway which costume from The Devil Wears Prada is the most Anne, not Andy (her character from the endlessly rewatchable 2006 film). Carrie Wittmer, Glamour, 22 June 2022 Twisty and Weeping Nun from American Horror Story) or classic couples costume ideas that are guaranteed to bring the screams (evil clowns). Mariah Thomas, Good Housekeeping, 14 June 2022 The trio served late-'90s and early-aughts style inspiration during the sitcom's 10 seasons on the air, much thanks to costume designer Debra McGuire. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 13 June 2022 Special shout out to costume designer Monika Buttinger, whose intricate creations, especially the corsetry, are so crucial to the story. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 May 2022 This also makes a great couples costume if your partner dresses up as the Vicount! Katarina Avendano, Good Housekeeping, 12 May 2022 To modernize the show further, Kepley and her staff used Dumas’ 17th-century setting as a springboard for their imaginations and then took creative liberties with the set, costume and sound designs. cleveland, 2 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The opaque fabric keeps things breathable, which makes these tights perfect for trick or treating outside or turning up at a costume party in your bestie's dorm. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 27 July 2022 Months after the divorce was finalized, McAvoy and Liberati made their romance Instagram official by sharing a number of pictures of themselves together at a costume party. Toyin Owoseje, CNN, 4 Feb. 2022 The tools and specifications for the sunglasses Foster Grant designers produced for costume designer Catherine Martin for the Elvis movie starring Austin Butler. Alexa Gagosz,, 29 July 2022 In a separate interview with, Dana Covarrubias, the costume designer for Only Murders in the Building, revealed that Mabel’s colorful look this season is part of a larger mission. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 26 July 2022 In The Northman’s fictional Viking realm, costume designer Linda Muir intensified a battle between two actors who already cut imposing figures outside of their Norse costumes. Fawnia Soo Hoo, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 July 2022 The film’s costume designer is the Oscar-winning Jenny Beavan, who is responsible for the look of films including A Room With a View and more recently Cruella. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, 11 July 2022 Hiltner was a costume designer before joining the exodus of artists forced out by low pay. New York Times, 6 July 2022 Jose Fernandez, the costume designer on the Batman sequels who was responsible for the nipples idea, recently recalled the decision in an interview with MEL Magazine., 6 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near costume



costume drama

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Statistics for costume

Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Costume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for costume


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

More from Merriam-Webster on costume

Nglish: Translation of costume for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of costume for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about costume


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