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[par-uh-fer-neyl-yuh, -fuh-neyl-] /ˌpær ə fərˈneɪl yə, -fəˈneɪl-/
(sometimes used with a singular verb) equipment, apparatus, or furnishing used in or necessary for a particular activity:
a skier's paraphernalia.
(used with a plural verb) personal belongings.
(used with a singular verb) Law. the personal articles, apart from dower, reserved by law to a married woman.
Origin of paraphernalia
1470-80; < Medieval Latin paraphernālia (bona) a bride's goods, beyond her dowry, equivalent to Late Latin paraphern(a) a bride's property (< Greek parápherna, equivalent to para- para-1 + phern(ḗ) dowry, derivative of phérein to bear1 + -a neuter plural noun suffix) + Latin -ālia, noun use of neuter plural of -ālis -al1
Related forms
paraphernalian, paraphernal
[par-uh-fur-nl] /ˌpær əˈfɜr nl/ (Show IPA),
1. appointments, appurtenances, accouterments, trappings. 2. effects. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for paraphernalia
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Cabins roomy and comfortable, furnishings of exquisite taste, all the paraphernalia of the cultured and the rich were there.

    The Stolen Singer Martha Idell Fletcher Bellinger
  • He wore the paraphernalia of the cowboy with ease and grace.

  • Then came the gowns and skirts, the shirtwaists and all the paraphernalia.

    Helen Grant's Schooldays Amanda M. Douglas
  • With the removal of the Bourbons all these paraphernalia were swept away.

    The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte William Milligan Sloane
  • So I was glad to have my bedding and other paraphernalia spread upon a mustabah, or raised stone divan, just within the gate.

British Dictionary definitions for paraphernalia


plural noun (sometimes functioning as sing)
miscellaneous articles or equipment
(law) (formerly) articles of personal property given to a married woman by her husband before or during marriage and regarded in law as her possessions over which she has some measure of control
Word Origin
C17: via Medieval Latin from Latin parapherna personal property of a married woman, apart from her dowry, from Greek, from para-1 + phernē dowry, from pherein to carry
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 paraphernalia

1650s, "a woman's property besides her dowry," from Medieval Latin paraphernalia (short for paraphernalia bona "paraphernal goods"), neuter plural of paraphernalis (adj.), from Late Latin parapherna "a woman's property besides her dowry," from Greek parapherna, neuter plural, from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + pherne "dowry," related to pherein "to carry" (see infer). Meaning "equipment, apparatus" is first attested 1791, from notion of odds and ends.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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