rai·​ment | \ ˈrā-mənt How to pronounce raiment (audio) \

Definition of raiment

1 chiefly literary : clothing, garments … dressed in the raiment of Victorian gentlemen.— Jerry Hopkins The abbot of Landevenec, in his poor raiment, was not able to pass unnoticed among the people of Cornouaille, amply and richly dressed and coiffured with high headdresses.— Charles Guyot The scientists believe that robbers quickly stripped the dead queen of her raiment, dismembering her mummy as though it was some sort of pharaonic piñata.— Ben Guarino
2 plural raiments, chiefly literary : an article of clothing : garment … I tell thee, holy man, / Thy raiments and thy ebony cross affright me!— Edgar Allen Poe She … shed her bright colours and raiments and flower garlands …— Jack London For going to political rallies—or just heading out for a burger—T-shirts became the perfect two-in-one raiment.— J. D. Reed sometimes used figuratively A rainforest is resplendent in a raiment of green—the ground thick with ferns and shrubs, and moss dripping from tree limbs.— Eric Noland

Get Fancy and Define Raiment

If you seek a fancy word to describe the clothes on your back, you have no shortage of colorful options. There's apparel and attire, certainly, as well as garments. Habiliments and vestments suggest clothes of a particular profession (as in "a clergyman's vestments"), while garb is effective for describing clothes of a particular style (as in "traditional Scottish garb"). If slang is more your game, try duds, rags, or threads. Raiment tends to appear mostly in classical contexts, though it pops up from time to time in contemporary English from authors looking to add a touch of formality. Raiment derives from Middle English, where it was short for arrayment, from the verb arrayen ("to array").

Examples of raiment in a Sentence

the prince exchanged his silken raiment for the pauper's humble homespun
Recent Examples on the Web Is not the life more than the food, and the body more than the raiment? Bob Odenkirk, The New Yorker, 28 Oct. 2019 Thousands of miles to the south, Inca rulers controlled as many as 37 million people, enriched by such abundance that the nobility clothed themselves in gilded raiments and decorated their homes with gold and silver ornaments. Tom Gjelten, Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2019 Two of the giants on display, topped with gold crowns and clad in flowing red and deep green raiment, are region-specific. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, 3 July 2018 Floral Headpiece, who noticed an unusual amount of red raiment adorning the female guests, quickly took credit for it all. The Masked Observer, AL.com, 31 Jan. 2018 The cabin at 11720 W. Howard Ave. was long ago enveloped in 20th century raiment. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 31 Oct. 2017 The play is about history and war and catastrophe and love, domestic and otherwise, in its glittering raiments. Cynthia Zarin, The New Yorker, 12 Mar. 2017 The group, now with a wealthy and aristocratic membership of elite Catholics who parade in ornate raiment, has more recently specialized in aiding refugees and the poor in more than 100 countries. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, 28 Jan. 2017 This traditional holiday treat returns — for the 38th straight year — from Nov. 24 through Dec. 24 with Hal Landon Jr. donning his Scrooge raiment for the 38th time and John-David Keller directing, also for the 38th year. Tom Titus, Daily Pilot, 15 June 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'raiment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of raiment

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for raiment

Middle English rayment "clothing, adornment," aphetic variant of arayment, arrayment "preparation, equipment, furnishings, clothing," borrowed from Anglo-French arraiement "preparation, arrangement," from arraier, arreyer "to arrange, order, equip, attire, adorn" + -ment -ment — more at array entry 1

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

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Cite this Entry

“Raiment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raiment. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for raiment


rai·​ment | \ ˈrā-mənt How to pronounce raiment (audio) \

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