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accost (third-person singular simple present accosts, present participle accosting, simple past and past participle accosted)

  1. (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[1]:
      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.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To join side to side; to border; hence, to sail along the coast or side of.
    • So much [of Lapland] as accosts the sea. - Fuller
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To approach; to come up to.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  4. (transitive) To speak to first; to address; to greet.
    • Milton
      Him, Satan thus accosts.
    • 1847, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, Chapter XVIII
      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."
  5. (intransitive, obsolete) To adjoin; to lie alongside.
    • Spenser
      the shores which to the sea accost
    • Fuller
      so much [of Lapland] as accosts the sea
  6. To solicit sexually.
  7. (transitive) To assault (the most common modern usage).

Derived terms[edit]


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accost (plural accosts)

  1. (rare) Address; greeting.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of J. Morley to this entry?)