ha·​bil·​i·​ment hə-ˈbi-lə-mənt How to pronounce habiliment (audio)
habiliments plural : characteristic apparatus : trappings
the habiliments of civilizationW. P. Webb
: the dress characteristic of an occupation or occasion
usually used in plural
: clothes
usually used in plural

Did you know?

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near habiliment

Cite this Entry

“Habiliment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/habiliment. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ha·​bil·​i·​ment hə-ˈbil-ə-mənt How to pronounce habiliment (audio)
: clothing sense 1
usually used in plural

More from Merriam-Webster on habiliment

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!