accessory

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English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

First attested in 1550s. From Middle English accessorie, from Medieval Latin accessōrius, from Latin accessor (helper, subordinate), from accessus. Compare access, from same root.

Adjective[edit]

accessory (comparative more accessory, superlative most accessory)

  1. Having a secondary, supplementary or subordinate function by accompanying as a subordinate; aiding in a secondary way; being additional; contributing or being contributory. Said of things and actions, very rarely of people (and then usually in a humorous version of the legal sense [or due to confusion between the noun and the adjective]).
    accessory garments
    Surprise parties succeed with the help of accessory neighbors or colleagues.
  2. (law) Assisting a crime without actually participating in committing the crime itself; being connected as an incident or subordinate to a principal.
    Her actions were clearly accessory because they helped him commit and probably also conceal the crime.
    Coordinate term: principal
    Hypernym: accomplice
  3. Present in a minor amount, and not essential.
    accessory mineral
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Etymology 2[edit]

  • (legal): First attested in 1414.
  • (fashion): First attested in 1896.

Noun[edit]

accessory (plural accessories)

  1. Something that belongs to part of another main thing; something additional and subordinate, an attachment.
    the accessories of a mobile phone
  2. (fashion) An article that completes one's basic outfit, such as a scarf or gloves.
  3. (law) A person who is not present at a crime, but contributes to it as an assistant or instigator.
    • 2005, Jennifer Worth, Shadows of the Workhouse, Weidenfeld & Nicholson (2009), page 150:
      “You can be an accessory before the fact, or an accessory after the fact. It doesnʼt matter if itʼs before or after; either way youʼd be in for it.”
    She was an accessory to the murder because she helped him commit and probably also conceal the crime.
  4. (art) Something in a work of art without being indispensably necessary, for example solely ornamental parts.
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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

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