• synonyms


[uh-kawst, uh-kost]
See more synonyms for accost on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to confront boldly: The beggar accosted me for money.
  2. to approach, especially with a greeting, question, or remark.
  3. (of prostitutes, procurers, etc.) to solicit for sexual purposes.
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  1. a greeting.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for accosts

Historical Examples

  • You see a luminous shadow of myself; it haunts, it accosts, it compels you.

    A Strange Story, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • If any one accosts you on the road put no trust in any professions.

  • He accosts me, when in the company of friends, with repulsive freedom.

    Urban Sketches

    Bret Harte

  • Everyone who accosts us asks for whisky, which seems to be scarce.

    The houseboat book

    William F. Waugh

  • He accosts her with evident pleasure, and is allowed a shake of the hand.

British Dictionary definitions for accosts


  1. (tr) to approach, stop, and speak to (a person), as to ask a question, accuse of a crime, solicit sexually, etc
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  1. rare a greeting
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Derived Formsaccostable, 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

Word Origin and History for accosts



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper