Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
accessary (plural accessaries)
- (law) Someone who accedes to some act, now especially a crime; one who contributes as an assistant or instigator to the commission of an offense.
- accessary before the fact (legal): one who commands or counsels an offense, not being present at its commission.
- accessary after the fact (legal): one who, after an offense, assists or shelters the offender, not being present at the commission of the offense.
- (law) Accompanying as a subordinate; additional; accessory; especially, uniting in, or contributing to, a crime, but not as chief actor. See accessory.
(Can we date this quote?), Shakespeare, Richard III, I-iii:
- To both their deaths thou shalt be accessary.
- "This word, as used in law, is spelt accessory by Blackstone and many others; but in this sense is spelt accessary by Bouvier, Burrill, Burns, Whishaw, Dane, and the Penny Cyclopedia; while in other senses it is spelt accessory. In recent text-books on criminal law the distinction is not preserved, the spelling being either accessary or accessory." - Webster, 1913. Since that time this trend has accelerated.