to threaten


accost = ansprechen [belästigen], anpöbeln, behelligen to accost sb. for money = jdn. um Geld anhauen [ugs.] --- GOOGLE INDEX accost: approximately 1,000,000 Google hits --- GOOGLE INDEX accost: approximately 1,000,000 Google hits



If you saw someone drop rubbish in the street, would you ACCOST them or avoid getting involved?

(BBC News)

As for poker, I've stayed away from that, even though when I was in Vegas for Ocean's Eleven, I would get ACCOSTED by these guys begging me to play. They just want to take my money. They see me, think "actor" and see some easy money.

(actor Matt Damon)

Did you


- to go up to or stop and speak to someone in a threatening way

(Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

Accost is from the Middle French "accoster" (to move up to) and the Italian "accostare" or perhaps directly from the Late Latin "accostare," meaning to come side by side or face to face with, to draw near to, to approach (ad = to + costa = rib). It was originally used in the sense of a fleet of warships attacking an enemy coast (costa).

The primary meaning evolved to describe approaching another person. Shakespeare used it in this sense, as well as to refer to a situation in which someone tries to make up to another person with whom they have a disagreement. The latter usage is obsolete meanwhile.

Modern usage is more or less restricted to going up to someone and speaking to them in a threatening away. However, there are examples in the press in which the word accost implies physical, not verbal, threats:

"The fan accosted by the Vancouver Canucks' Rick Rypien on Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center said he is considering legal action against the National Hockey League player."

One has to read the article further before finding out that the hockey player grabbed the fan by his shirt. Otherwise one would assume the player simply issued a verbal threat. In any case, the fan can be glad that he wasn't on the receiving end of a body check instead.


address, annoy, bother, buttonhole, challenge, come face to face with, confront, cross, dare, encounter, face, run into

SMUGGLE OWAD into today's conversation

"They were accosted by fans from the other team after the game."

Thanks to Sabine for suggesting today's word!

More Word Quizzes: