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 The pop icon wore a shimmery Tinker Bell costume for the occasion, which came complete with a pair of huge wings. Gabriela Thorne, Allure, "Katy Perry Bleached Her Eyebrows for American Idol," 3 May 2021 Someone in a Charlie Brown costume frantically waves hello. New York Times, "Lucha Libre, Yoga, Dancing: Welcome to Mexico City’s Vaccination Sites," 2 May 2021 Opening day is May 28, when the Dogs will give all fans in attendance a mustard costume and a bottle of Vienna Yellow Mustard. Annie Alleman,, "Minor-league baseball teams return to the field after most sat out 2020," 29 Apr. 2021 After a few frantic minutes of battle by roughly 70 people, a winner was declared: a 4-year-old in a Fortnite costume from Lincoln named Josh Vinson Jr., aka Little Josh, who was awarded a crown, a trophy, and declared The Josh. Jason Gay, WSJ, "The Day People Named Josh Fought in Nebraska," 26 Apr. 2021 There was Theo Epstein’s surprise resignation in 2005 when the young general manager left Fenway Park in a gorilla costume., "A huge victory for soccer fans, a huge setback for John Henry," 21 Apr. 2021 In a role that didn’t require a full-body costume, Silla portrayed the villain Litvak in the 1975 quasi-Maltese Falcon sequel The Black Bird. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, "Felix Silla, Cousin Itt on ‘Addams Family,’ Dead at 84," 17 Apr. 2021 The original image shows a model posing in a Madonna costume. Mckenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Image of first lady Jill Biden wearing 1980s costume is altered," 13 Apr. 2021 In the clip, the artist watches the unmasked former Olympian cover the song in a fabulous and flashy phoenix costume after on the popular Fox competition show. Anna Chan, Billboard, "Kesha Belatedly — and Hilariously — Reacts to Caitlyn Jenner's 'Masked Singer' Cover of 'Tik Tok'," 7 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Wanda enters in a dimestore-spandex version of her classic original comics costume, as designed by writer/artist Jack Kirby. Abraham Riesman, Vulture, "WandaVision Recap: Neighborhood Witch," 12 Feb. 2021 Fabrication work was completed by SCPS in Southern California, the same production studio that built concepts and movie props for Spider-Man: Homecoming and costume pieces for Avengers: Endgame. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, "Twitch Viewers Turn a 2021 Lexus IS350 F Sport into a Gaming PC," 19 Feb. 2021 Unfortunately, the Amazon marching group, the NOLA Chorus Girl (who usually costume as angels), and live horses will be absent this year, de Alteriis said. Doug Maccash | Staff Writer,, "COVID-era Mardi Gras season kicks off with stationary Joan of Arc parade on the west bank," 30 Dec. 2020 In a recent interview with Vogue, Wilde said she and costume designer Arianne Phillips were thrilled when Styles joined the cast. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Harry Styles Attends Agent Jeffrey Azoff's Wedding With Olivia Wilde," 4 Jan. 2021 Van Alstyne, an Anglican Dominican friar, dresses up as St. Nick during the holidays, more-or-less the way others costume as Santa Claus. Doug Maccash | Staff Writer,, "Stoop caroling, interstate ham, masked St. Nick? New Orleans holiday ideas that are pandemic-proof.," 17 Dec. 2020 In 2017, Phil Chan, a scholar, educator, and former dancer, convinced New York City Ballet to drop the offending antics and costume pieces. Juan Michael Porter Ii, The Christian Science Monitor, "Whose ‘Nutcracker’? Rethinking a Christmas staple.," 11 Dec. 2020 Saturday Take your astronaut costume to the next level by creating your own bárány chair, which is commonly used in aerospace physiology training to teach pilots and astronauts about spatial disorientation. Adriana Balsamo, New York Times, "Hail the Supermoon And Howl at a Canine Costume Contest," 24 Oct. 2020 Much to the delight of ghouls, goblins and Tiger King costume choices, cool temperatures are creeping into Central Florida ahead of the Halloween weekend. Joe Mario Pedersen,, "After near record heat, cool air creep’n into Central Florida this Halloween weekend," 29 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Gabriela Hearst, John Galliano, and Tomo Koizumi are among the designers participating in the summit, with makeup artist Pat McGrath, costume designer Ruth E. Carter, and stylist Zerina Akers also on the lineup. Sarah Spellings, Vogue, "John Galliano, Pat McGrath, Gabriela Hearst, and More Will Headline Vogue’s Forces of Fashion Summit," 28 Apr. 2021 Futrell, who worked as a costume designer and performer at a circus in San Francisco, said his fear of arrest for public smoking quickly eased while living there. William Lee,, "Parallel worlds emerge in the first year of legalization as Blacks make up more than three-quarters of marijuana-related arrests while boutique dispensaries take off," 15 Apr. 2021 Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and current president of BAFTA, was supposed to take part in a video segment for Saturday's BAFTA event with costume designer Jenny Beavan and makeup and hair designer Sharon Martin. . Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Prince William will not appear at BAFTAs following Prince Philip's death," 10 Apr. 2021 Roth has 130 credits as a costume designer on IMDb, starting in 1964. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, "Ann Roth is now the oldest woman to win a competitive Oscar," 25 Apr. 2021 For costume designer Michele Clapton, a veteran of The Crown and Game of Thrones, that was part of its appeal. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "What Secrets Do the Costumes on The Nevers Reveal?," 12 Apr. 2021 Equally novel to me was San Francisco’s propensity toward costume parties. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "My favorite white wines to pair with Bay Area Dungeness crab, the purest joy of a short season," 11 Feb. 2021 Adults get all dressed up and go to costume parties, often not quite knowing who is beneath a mask. New York Times, "When Trick-or-Treating Is Scary, for Real," 30 Oct. 2020 Halloween, with its more risky, group activities — costume parties and trick-or-treating — has retreated in the face of the pandemic. Mark Stevenson And Diego Delgado,, "Coronavirus dims Mexico’s bright Day of the Dead celebration," 29 Oct. 2020

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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Costume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for costume



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



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

Comments on costume

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