Borrowed from Ancient Greek παράφερνα (parápherna, “goods which a wife brings over and above her dowry”), a compound of παρά (pará, “beside”) + φερνή (phernḗ, “dowry”). In the propertied classes, a dowry was placed under the control of the husband, while the paraphernalia which she brought with her remained the wife’s property.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌpæɹəfəˈneɪli.ə/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˌpɛɹəfɚˈneɪli.ə/, /ˌpɛɹəfəˈneɪli.ə/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -eɪliə
- Hyphenation: par‧a‧pher‧na‧lia
paraphernalia pl (plural only)
- Miscellaneous items, especially the set of equipment required for a particular activity.
- Synonym: stuff
- He has an impressive collection of bicycling paraphernalia, but he doesn't ride very often anymore.
- 2021 December 29, Stephen Roberts, “Stories and Facts behind railway plaques: Reading (1840)”, in RAIL, number 947, page 56:
- People such as William James and the Stephensons (with whom he collaborated) may have been the movers and shakers of the early railways, but there was other, less exalted bods who constructed all the paraphernalia - including stations.
- (archaic, family law) Things a married woman owns, such as clothing and jewellery, apart from her dowry.
- Synonym: parapherna
- 1901, Unknown, “The House with the Belvedere”, in John Payne, transl., The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, volume 5:
- So she told her what her husband had said and sat with her awhile; but, presently, up came porters, who brought all her clothes and paraphernalia and what not else belonged to her of goods and vessels from her husband’s house and deposited them in that of her mother.