ha·​bil·​i·​ment | \ hə-ˈbi-lə-mənt How to pronounce habiliment (audio) \

Definition of habiliment

1 habiliments plural : characteristic apparatus : trappings the habiliments of civilization— W. P. Webb
2a : the dress characteristic of an occupation or occasion usually used in plural
b : clothes usually used in plural

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Habiliment, from Middle French abillement, is a bit old-fashioned and is often used to describe complex, multi-pieced outfits like those of medieval times. For instance, a full suit of armor—which might include a helmet, a gorget, pallettes, brassard, a skirt of tasses, tuilles, gauntlets, cuisses, jambeaus, and sollerets, along with other pieces and plates—can be considered the habiliments of a knight. Nowadays, habiliment, which is usually used in its plural form, is also fitting for the dress of an occupation, such as the different vestments of a priest, or for clothes, such as elegant formal wear, worn on special occasions. When habiliment is used for plain old clothes, it is more than likely for jocular or poetic effect—as we see it being used by William Shakespeare in the first example below.

Examples of habiliment in a Sentence

the lady's rich habiliments and haughty manner made the host's servants think she was someone important

First Known Use of habiliment

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for habiliment

Middle English abiliments, habilementes, from Middle French abillement, habillemens, from Old French abiller to prepare, equip, from bille trimmed wood, log — more at billet

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The first known use of habiliment was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Habiliment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/habiliment. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of habiliment for Spanish Speakers


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