The Word-Hoard: Habiliment




1. (Usually habiliments) Clothes or clothing.

2. Accouterments or trappings.


Originally from the Old French habillement, meaning “clothe,” “habiliments” is a nice change-up from the usual words you might use for clothing, like garb, garments, or duds. There are actually quite a few terms for clothing, but this one caught my eye in how rarely I’ve seen it used. Maybe I’m just not reading the right stories! You can also apply it to a traditional or regular form of dress, such as the habiliments of the palace guard or the tavern staff.


It was a strange, weird picture that the oddly contrasted party presented as they raced across the clearing of this forgotten isle toward a jungle as primitive as when “the evening and the morning were the third day.” An American girl of the highest social caste borne in the arms of that most vicious of all social pariahs—the criminal mucker of the slums of a great city—and defending them with drawn revolver, a French count and soldier of fortune, while in their wake streamed a yelling pack of half-caste demons clothed in the habiliments of sixteenth century Japan, and wielding the barbarous spears of the savage head-hunting aborigines whose fierce blood coursed in their veins with that of the descendants of Taka-mi-musu-bi-no-kami.

– Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Mucker (1921)


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