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 Everyone's just trying to make a lasting first impression and these costumes did help with that. Martha Sorren,, "A Guide To 2020’s Wildest Bachelor Limo Entrances," 6 Jan. 2020 Curious, then, that in lieu of costumes the filmmakers would choose to drape the performers’ bodies in layers of unsightly and expensive motion-capture computer graphics. Daniel Drake, The New York Review of Books, "The Slog Comes in on Little Cat Feet," 4 Jan. 2020 Rounding out the creative team is set and costume design by 2016 Tony Award nominee Tom Scutt, lighting design by Lee Curran, and music supervision by Tom Deering, according to a news release announcing the show. Kathryn Gregory, The Courier-Journal, "More than a rock concert: 'Jesus Christ Superstar' brings a modern take to Louisville," 3 Jan. 2020 Think dancing, donuts, and costumes of bears, goats and nurses, celebrated on the Julian calendar observed by Orthodox Christians. National Geographic, "What are your New Year's travel resolutions?," 31 Dec. 2019 HBO’s Watchmen unspooled scary meta-commentary on, really, all of the above costume-wearing vigilantes. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Mandalorian Knows Why Heroes Wear Masks," 30 Dec. 2019 Polly Graham directed with an eye toward glamorous spectacle; Rei Kawakubo, of Comme des Garçons, provided handsomely garish costumes. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Opera Against the Patriarchy," 30 Dec. 2019 Last season’s club won five games in a row after donning old Irish costumes at the Jan. 1, 2019, Winter Classic, amid a second-half run of 22-3-5 that lasted from late December to early March., "How about doing the same with pink toenails?," 29 Dec. 2019 Next year’s top Halloween costume in Huntsville may be Orange Conehead. Lee Roop |, al, "Here’s why 2020 will be even bigger for Huntsville," 27 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On top of that, effects of this caliber require compromise: As much as darker lighting, longer takes, and clever costuming help hide flaws in Junior’s presentation, the film couldn’t conceivably be told under such circumstances in every scene. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "The Irishman, Gemini Man, and the Rise of De-aging," 6 Dec. 2019 And with dozens of articles praising the costuming a decade later, its fashion influence only became more relevant. Kerensa Cadenas,, "An oral history of the pitch-black '90s comedy Jawbreaker," 13 Dec. 2019 Within minutes of the official opening, the ring and ping of slot machines could be heard, and the smell of cigarette smoke filtered toward where Caesars held a brief ceremony with men and women costumed in Roman dress. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "Caesars debuts new $90 million land-based casino in Southern Indiana," 12 Dec. 2019 Magnolia's Instagram gave the DIY costumes a special shout out. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "These Kids Dressed Up as Chip and Joanna Gaines are Doing Halloween Right," 31 Oct. 2019 There’s not a ton of money in costuming, but there’s enough to make the business work. John Wenzel, The Know, "Look closely at Broadway’s “Anastasia” to see Colorado costume shop Redthreaded," 4 Aug. 2019 While Orlando has become a destination for adults to costume up, party down and get terrified, there are still plenty of haunts in Central Florida designed specifically for the younger crowd. Trevor Fraser,, "Trick-or-treat in Orlando: A list of free, fun and safe Halloween events," 21 Oct. 2019 Parisi’s show combines storytelling, theater, history, costuming, and literature., "," 17 Oct. 2019 Pearce rocks the house with her powerful high note and silky singing, and her costuming boosts the illusion of androgyny. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Victor/Victoria’ gets a stylish staging at Moonlight, but musical’s story is stretched a little thin," 12 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Makeup designer Joe Dulude II will do demonstrations and interactive sessions with guests, costume designer Paul Tazewell will discuss his creative process and choreographer Kelly Devine will teach daily dance classes. Washington Post, "New cruise ship stars a raft of bona fide Tony Award winners," 24 Oct. 2019 The event also features complimentary beer, a race party with breakfast and lunch, live entertainment, a kids’ zone, Santa Claus, costume contests, a doggie stop and more. Kathleen Christiansen,, "5Ks and fun runs offer healthy ways to celebrate the holidays," 18 Nov. 2019 The offerings include plush animals, crafts, books, costume accessories, shirts and various household items. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Pop-up shop brings all things unicorn to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis," 15 Nov. 2019 On Halloween, the model threw herself a costume birthday party at a Los Angeles nightclub and invited a whole slew of A-list guests, including Gigi Hadid and Hailey Bieber. Kayleigh Roberts, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kendall Jenner Wore the Tiniest Nude Dress to Buy Jewelry in Beverly Hills," 7 Nov. 2019 The mother of one came up with the idea for the pint-sized costume version, and turned to Alejandro Collection to recreate her iconic Met Gala look, the label’s designer Alejandro Peraza told PEOPLE exclusively. Jen Juneau,, "Superhero Stormi! Kylie Jenner Twins with Daughter, 21 Months, at Her Halloween Party for Kids," 1 Nov. 2019 For years now, costume companies like Yandy have been gaining customers and media attention for their ability to turn online moments into sellable, sexified scraps of fabric within days or even hours. Wired, "Meme Costumes Are Dead. Long Live the Meme Costume," 31 Oct. 2019 The three winners each received a small trophy and a merchant’s gift bag and went away with great costume ideas for next year. Linda Gandee/special To, cleveland, "Halloween costume contest at Crocker Park in Westlake gives pets a chance to strut their stuff," 28 Oct. 2019 Drink specials, dancing, costume contests and more. Luann Gibbs,, "Last-chance Halloween events in and around Cincinnati in 2019," 24 Oct. 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

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Costume.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 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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Comments on costume

What made you want to look up costume? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

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