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[ak-ses-uh-ree] /ækˈsɛs ə ri/
noun, plural accessories.
a subordinate or supplementary part, object, or the like, used mainly for convenience, attractiveness, safety, etc., as a spotlight on an automobile or a lens cover on a camera.
an article or set of articles of dress, as gloves, earrings, or a scarf, that adds completeness, convenience, attractiveness, etc., to one's basic outfit.
  1. Also called accessory before the fact. a person who, though not present during the commission of a felony, is guilty of having aided and abetted another, who committed the felony.
  2. Also called accessory after the fact. a person who knowingly conceals or assists another who has committed a felony.
    Compare principal (def 9b).
Anatomy. accessory nerve.
contributing to a general effect; supplementary; subsidiary.
Law. giving aid as an accessory.
Petrography. (of a mineral) being present in small amounts in a rock and having no bearing on the classification of the rock, as zircon in granite.
Origin of accessory
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English accessorie (< Middle French) < Medieval Latin accessōrius. See accede, -tory1
Related forms
accessorily, adverb
accessoriness, noun
interaccessory, adjective
nonaccessory, adjective, noun, plural nonaccessories.
3. accomplice.
Synonym Study
1. See addition. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for accessories
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The furniture and accessories of the altar in pre-Reformation times were numerous.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • Are they not after all "accessories after the fact" and equally guilty?

  • Its accessories for the time being were even more than ordinarily unimpressive.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • His 'accessories,' as the French would call them, are undeniable.

    Luttrell Of Arran Charles James Lever
  • It is unmistakably his picture; and he dominates the accessories as much as he did in reality.

    Holbein Beatrice Fortescue
British Dictionary definitions for accessories


noun (pl) -ries
a supplementary part or object, as of a car, appliance, etc
(often pl) a small accompanying item of dress, esp of women's dress
a person who incites someone to commit a crime or assists the perpetrator of a crime, either before or during its commission
supplementary; additional; subordinate
assisting in or having knowledge of an act, esp a crime
Derived Forms
accessorial (ˌæksɛˈsɔːrɪəl) adjective
accessorily, adverb
accessoriness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin accessōrius: see access
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for accessories



also accessary, early 15c. as a legal term in the criminal sense of "one aiding in a crime;" also "that which is subordinate to something else," from Late Latin accessorius, from accessor, agent noun from accedere (see access (n.)). Attested from 1896 as "woman's smaller articles of dress," hence accessorize.



1550s, "subordinate," from Late Latin accessorius, from accessor, agent noun from accedere (see access (n.)). Meaning "aiding in crime" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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accessories in Medicine

accessory ac·ces·so·ry (āk-sěs'ə-rē)

  1. Having a secondary, supplementary, or subordinate function.

  2. Of, relating to, or being a body part, such as a gland, nerve, or muscle, that is anatomically auxiliary.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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