Accost

Grammarist

Accost is a verb that, according to the dictionary, means to verbally attack someone, to be aggressive and combative, but without physical contact usually. Sometimes it can be used to approach someone aggressively but without anger, such as an earnest salesman.

Oftentimes this word is used or understood to mean a person was physically attacked. We have included several examples below. But accost is not a synonym for assault or attack, at least as currently defined and the two meanings should be kept separate.

Examples

His trainer will be Kat (Cobie Smulders), Power 4 Life’s most popular staffer, if also its most high-strung: We first see her sprinting through a suburban neighborhood to accost a client who’s fallen behind on her payments. [Variety]

The clip sees an attractive woman accosting male shoppers in the street, on the pretext of asking them for advice on what to buy her boyfriend for the event. [Best Daily]

It turns out it may have to do with the frigid air that accosts our nostrils and turns our noses red. [The Boston Globe]

Crowle residents are on alert after the attempted accosting of two young girls in the town at the weekend. [Doncaster Free Press]

However, instead of getting shoppers up on their feet and dancing to Ali Campbell and Pato Banton’s 1994 hit Baby Come Back, he is accosted by the supermarket’s security guard and forced to leave the store in under a minute. [The Independent]

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