[uh-kawst, uh-kost]

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 formsac·cost·a·ble, adjectiveun·ac·cost·a·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for accost

Contemporary Examples of accost

Historical Examples of accost

  • 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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for accost



(tr) to approach, stop, and speak to (a person), as to ask a question, accuse of a crime, solicit sexually, etc


rare a greeting
Derived Formsaccostable, adjective

Word Origin for accost

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

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