August 4th, 2019

words 6

Sunday Word: Accoutrements

accoutrements [uh-koo-truh-muh nt], also US alternative accouterment

1a Equipment, trappings, specifically a soldier's outfit usually not including clothes and weapons
1b accessory items of clothing or equipment

2 identifying and often superficial characteristics or devices

3 archaic : the act of accoutring (providing with equipment or furnishings)

More commonly used plural of accoutrement


In the late 1960s his mother’s dog, Cimi, was fed cheap dog food and table scraps, and had just two accoutrements: a blanket and a leash. (Pet-ownership is booming across the world, The Economist)

Examining these heirloom fabrics has become a yearly ritual for my mother and me, a moment alone spent marveling over the handiwork, and ensuring that each garment is stored with its matching accoutrements: a choli (blouse) and petticoat. (Leah Bhabha, Something Borrowed: How I Turned a 100-Year-Old Sari Into My Wedding Veil, Vogue)

We have been turned out, for some purpose, and are standing in line with our guns and accoutrements on. (Lawrence Van Alstyne, Diary of An Enlisted Man)

Just before dark they had been close enough for us to plainly distinguish that they were green Martians, and all during the long night we distinctly heard the clanking of their accoutrements behind us. (Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Gods of Mars)


Mid 16th century from French, from accoutrer 'clothe, equip' (Oxford English Dictionaries)

Accoutrement and its relative 'accoutre,' a verb meaning 'to provide with equipment or furnishings' or 'to outfit,' have been appearing in English texts since the 16th century. Today both words have variant spellings - 'accouterment' and 'accouter.' Their French ancestor, accoutrer, descends from an Old French word meaning 'seam' and ultimately traces to the Latin word consuere, meaning 'to sew together.' You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that 'consuere' is also an ancestor of couture, meaning 'the business of designing fashionable custom-made women's clothing.' (Merriam-Webster)