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accessory

[ak-ses-uh-ree]
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noun, plural ac·ces·so·ries.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Law.
    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).
  4. Anatomy. accessory nerve.
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adjective
  1. contributing to a general effect; supplementary; subsidiary.
  2. Law. giving aid as an accessory.
  3. 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.
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Origin of accessory

1400–50; late Middle English accessorie (< Middle French) < Medieval Latin accessōrius. See accede, -tory1
Related formsac·ces·so·ri·ly, adverbac·ces·so·ri·ness, nounin·ter·ac·ces·so·ry, adjectivenon·ac·ces·so·ry, adjective, noun, plural non·ac·ces·so·ries.

Synonyms

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Synonym study

1. See addition.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

trimmings

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

accessory

noun plural -ries
  1. a supplementary part or object, as of a car, appliance, etc
  2. (often plural) a small accompanying item of dress, esp of women's dress
  3. a person who incites someone to commit a crime or assists the perpetrator of a crime, either before or during its commission
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adjective
  1. supplementary; additional; subordinate
  2. assisting in or having knowledge of an act, esp a crime
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Derived Formsaccessorial (ˌæksɛˈsɔːrɪəl), adjectiveaccessorily, adverbaccessoriness, 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

Word Origin and History for accessories

accessory

n.

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.

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accessory

adj.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

accessories in Medicine

accessory

(ăk-sĕsə-rē)
adj.
  1. Having a secondary, supplementary, or subordinate function.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.