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  • Noun




A soldier’s uniform generally includes several accoutrements or accessories in addition to the clothing itself: belt, weapon, communication device, etc. Originally a military term, the word accoutrement is now used to describe the extra gear of any specific activity or status. The accoutrements of wealth, for example, might include expensive cars or vacation homes; the accoutrements of a professional gymnast might involve a balance beam, the rings, chalk, and uniforms.

Quiz: What is an accoutrement?

  • Something extra that you don’t need.
  • An essential extra that belongs to a specific activity or state.
  • A unique form of travel gear.

Memory Hook

A Scooter Mint Those who ride scooters swallow nasty-tasting bugs. So they need to pack "scooter mints" for every ride.


  • He had this roomy pouch, a strange accoutrement, intricately strung and hung at the ready, a rare patchwork of devilishly fitting dragon-skins. —from _Beowulf_
  • To enter one of the cozy cabins, accessorized with hunting and fishing accoutrement[s]—a nod to the area’s roots—is to feel as though you’ve stumbled upon a secret bungalow that’s been perfectly preserved for a century. —SFGate
  • During the swear-in ceremony, we incorporate a badge pinning that is usually done by a loved one. . . . I advise the newly minted deputies that the badge is the most important accoutrement they’ll have as a peace officer. The symbolism of the badge, whether it’s a star-shape or an oval, is always the same. It represents an ancient warrior’s shield—a shield of protection. —Santa Barbara News-Press
  • Here was Hand arriving at Wednesday’s bright and early ceremony at Woodbridge. “For real, I was focused on this bow tie,” Hand said, referring to the Crimson-colored accoutrement he wore to Wednesday’s ceremony. “I tied a bow tie by myself, for the first time. I watched a little video on YouTube, and I know how to tie one now.” —The Washington Post

Word Ingredients

ac- to, towards
cout sew together
-ment quality, condition

An accoutrement is something that is specifically “sewn together towards or on behalf of” a particular activity that one does.

Word Theater

Stargate SG-1 The sleeping platforms don't need accoutrements since they adjust automatically to body temperature.

Word Constellation


Word Variants

accouterment n spelling variant of "accoutrement"