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Definition of accessory

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Houghton Mifflin

ac·ces·so·ry  audio  (k-ss-r) KEY 

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.
  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.

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

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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