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[uh-kawst, uh-kost] /əˈkɔst, əˈkɒst/
verb (used with object)
to confront boldly:
The beggar accosted me for money.
to approach, especially with a greeting, question, or remark.
(of prostitutes, procurers, etc.) to solicit for sexual purposes.
a greeting.
Origin of accost
First recorded in 1570-80, accost is from the Late Latin word accostāre to be or put side by side. See ac-, coast
Related forms
accostable, adjective
unaccostable, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for accost
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was not to accost her in the presence of any other person.

    The Avenger E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • He entered the room slowly, uncertain how to accost Mr. Danforth.

    Paul Prescott's Charge Horatio Alger
  • An inspiration from above told me to accost her and to invite her to follow me.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • I kept my seat, resolving to accost him directly after supper.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
  • It might be no harm to accost them, and Jem was not shy about strangers.

    My New Curate P.A. Sheehan
  • After that the child was told how to accost the servants and the governess.

    Heidi Johanna Spyri
  • She wandered on from street to street, not daring to accost any of the busy people.

    Heidi Johanna Spyri
  • When she is of the exercise, I will also accost and restrain her.

British Dictionary definitions for accost


(transitive) to approach, stop, and speak to (a person), as to ask a question, accuse of a crime, solicit sexually, etc
(rare) a greeting
Derived Forms
accostable, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin accostāre to place side by side, from Latin costa side, rib
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 accost

1570s, from Middle French accoster "move up to," from Italian accostare or directly from Late Latin accostare "come up to the side," from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + costa "rib, side" (see coast (n.)). The original notion is of fleets of warships attacking an enemy's coast. Related: Accosted; accosting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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