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First attested in the 1570s. From Old French accoster, from Vulgar Latin accosto (“to come alongside someone”), from ad (“near”) + costa (“rib, side”). Cognate with Spanish acostar (“to lie down, go to bed”).
- (General American) IPA(key): /ə.ˈkɔst/
- (cot–caught merger, Canada) IPA(key): /ə.ˈkɑst/
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ə.ˈkɒst/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɒst
- Hyphenation: ac‧cost
- (transitive) To approach and speak to boldly or aggressively, as with a demand or request.
- 2012 August 21, Pilkington, Ed, “Death penalty on trial: should Reggie Clemons live or die?”, in The Guardian:
- The Missouri prosecutors' case against Clemons, based partly on incriminating testimony given by his co-defendants, was that Clemons was part of a group of four youths who accosted the sisters on the Chain of Rocks Bridge one dark night in April 1991.
- (transitive, obsolete) To join side to side; to border.
- (by extension, transitive, obsolete) To sail along the coast or side of.
- (transitive, obsolete) To approach; to come up to.
- (transitive) To speak to first; to address; to greet.
- 1847, Bronte, Charlotte, chapter XVIII, in Jane Eyre:
- She approached the basin, and bent over it as if to fill her pitcher; she again lifted it to her head. The personage on the well-brink now seemed to accost her; to make some request—"She hasted, let down her pitcher on her hand, and gave him to drink."
- (intransitive, obsolete) To adjoin; to lie alongside.
- 1662, Fuller, Thomas, “Derby-shire”, in History of the Worthies of England:
- Lapland hath since been often surrounded (so much as accosts the sea) by the English.
- (transitive) To assault.
- 2017 June 21, Rice, Glenn E., “Police seek two gunmen who accosted Kansas City couple”, in The Kansas City Star:
- Surveillance video of the incident shows the man and woman being accosted by a man armed with and assault-style handgun.
- (transitive) To solicit sexually.
- 1997, Crosby, Travis L., The Two Mr. Gladstones:
- Gladstone's initial tone of disinterested philanthropy also characterized his first encounters with prostitutes in London once he has moved there to undertake his parliamentary duties. Accosted in a London park in 1837 by two women, Gladstone merely reported of them that "both ... had taken to their miserable calling from losing their livelihood by the death of their husbands."
to approach and speak too boldly or aggressively, as with a demand or request
archaic or obsolete: to join side to side; to border
to speak to first, to address, to greet
- 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.
Translations to be checked
accost (plural accosts)
- (rare) Address; greeting.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of J. Morley to this entry?)
- 1866, Oliphant, Margaret, chapter XXIII, in Miss Marjoribanks (Chronicles of Carlingford):
- A man does not seize a woman by the sleeve and ask, "Is it you?" without some reason for an address so destitute of ordinary courtesy; and Lucilla was sufficiently versed in such matters to know that so rude and startling an accost could be only addressed to some one whose presence set the speaker's heart beating, and quickened the blood in his veins.
- 1897, Stevenson, Robert Louis, “The Drovers”, in St. Ives:
- Great was my amazement to find the unconquerable Mr. Sim thaw immediately on the accost of this strange gentleman, who hailed him with a ready familiarity, proceeded at once to discuss with him the trade of droving and the prices of cattle, and did not disdain to take a pinch from the inevitable ram's horn.
- An attack.
- 1887, Stevenson, Robert Louis, “Olalla”, in The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables:
- At last, when I was already within reach of her, I stopped. Words were denied me; if I advanced I could but clasp her to my heart in silence; and all that was sane in me, all that was still unconquered, revolted against the thought of such an accost.