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 Ream, like many parents, is fond of the principal who dresses up in costume on occasion. Anna Bauman,, "Berkeley elementary school to move due to ‘shocking’ earthquake danger," 29 Nov. 2019 Blue’s 10-year-old son Milo ran with them, though not in costume. Mary Grace Keller,, "Turkey Trot ditches Styrofoam cups for greener race, draws thousands of runners on blustery Thanksgiving morning," 28 Nov. 2019 Individuals or groups who want to compete should go to Center Memorial Park on Main Street and find The Hartford Courant tent, which is by the statue of the three bears, between 8 and 10 a.m. All members of the group should be in costume. Susan Dunne,, "Everything you need to know about the Manchester Road Race: Parking, bathrooms, the best spectator spots and the costume contest," 25 Nov. 2019 Finally, in other T.Y. Hilton news (maybe?), the Texans linebacker corps arrived at NRG Stadium in costume tonight. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "T.Y. Hilton will play vs. Texans; Rock Ya-Sin inactive," 21 Nov. 2019 Fifteen years after Lizzie McGuire went off the air, Hilary Duff is back in costume as her iconic alter ego. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Hilary Duff Shared the First Look at Lizzie McGuire's Bangs," 18 Nov. 2019 Children are encouraged to arrive in costume to participate in the parade at 11 a.m. Other activities include face painting, arts and crafts tent, the Fantasy Forest, a fire truck and more. Jennifer Boehm,, "Things to do with the kids this weekend: Storybook Festival, Family Sleepover, Dog Tales & more," 13 Nov. 2019 Duff was also photographed in costume carrying a giant cuddly llama around New York City. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Lizzie McGuire Reboot Is Officially Happening. Here's Everything You Need to Know.," 10 Nov. 2019 And her backup singers were in costume as the other sisters, Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mary (Kathy Najimy). Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Kelly Clarkson Dressed Up as Winifred From Hocus Pocus and Performed 'I Put a Spell on You'," 31 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The decadent caper, which is based on Jessica Pressler’s 2015 story for The Cut, uses its costuming in large part to signal its characters’ shifting relationships to the wealth that unites them. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "How Hustlers Captured the Excesses of Pre-Recession Fashion," 17 Sep. 2019 As The Preacher, longtime company member Lloyd Knight, costumed in his handsome frock coat and wide-brimmed hat (Graham often designed the costumes herself), is suitably fervent, yet with a subtle sense of humanity. Janine Parker,, "Two works by Martha Graham make the company’s EVE Project at Jacob’s Pillow transcendant," 16 Aug. 2019 Both gents are simply costumed by Tracy Dorman in nice suits, with Shorey in a flashier vest and bowtie befitting the eccentricity and poshness of his various characters. Sam Hurwitt, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Murder for Two’ gets good and silly in Walnut Creek," 11 Sep. 2019 In 1997, when dozens of people claimed to see UFOs zip across the Phoenix sky, Symington called a press conference and stood next to a staffer costumed as a wide-eyed Martian. Alden Woods, azcentral, "More cake, less scandal (and no UFOs): Ex-Gov. Fife Symington is still looking for his legacy," 7 July 2019 Hasbro isn’t the only company producing high-end Boba Fett costuming gear. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "I wish Hasbro’s new Boba Fett helmet was available when I was a kid," 20 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 Her advice to the rest of us, who might not have weeks of prep time, artists at our service or access to some of Hollywood’s best costume wardrobes? Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Houston Chronicle, "Heidi Klum hints at 2019 Halloween costume," 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

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Costume.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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

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contradictory or incongruous words

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