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Definition of accessory


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ac·ces·so·ry  audio  (k-ss-r) KEY 

NOUN:
pl. ac·ces·so·ries
    1. A subordinate or supplementary item; an adjunct.
    2. Something nonessential but desirable that contributes to an effect or result. See Synonyms at appendage.
  1. Law
    1. One who incites, aids, or abets a lawbreaker in the commission of a crime but is not present at the time of the crime. Also called accessory before the fact.
    2. One who aids a criminal after the commission of a crime, but was not present at the time of the crime. Also called accessory after the fact.
ADJECTIVE:
  1. Having a secondary, supplementary, or subordinate function.
  2. Law Serving to aid or abet a lawbreaker, either before or after the commission of the crime, without being present at the time the crime was committed.

ETYMOLOGY:
Middle English accessorie, from Medieval Latin accessrius, from accessor, helper, from Latin accessus, approach ; see access

OTHER FORMS:
acces·sori·al  (-s-sôr-l, -sr-) KEY (Adjective), ac·cesso·ri·ly(Adverb), ac·cesso·ri·ness(Noun)
Usage Note:
Although the pronunciation (-ss-r), with no (k) sound in the first syllable, is commonly heard, it is not accepted by a majority of the Usage Panel. In a recent survey, 87 percent of the Panelists disapproved of it. The 13 percent that accepted the pronunciation were divided on usage: more than half accepted the (k)-less pronunciation for all senses. A few approved of it only in fashion contexts, and a few others approved of it only in legal contexts.


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