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[uh-par-uh l] /əˈpær əl/
clothing, especially outerwear; garments; attire; raiment.
anything that decorates or covers.
superficial appearance; aspect; guise.
Nautical. the masts, sails, anchor, etc., used to equip a vessel.
Ecclesiastical. a piece of embroidery, usually oblong, on certain vestments, especially on the alb or amice.
verb (used with object), appareled, appareling or (especially British) apparelled, apparelling.
to dress or clothe.
to adorn; ornament.
Nautical. to equip (a vessel) with apparel.
Origin of apparel
1200-50; Middle English appareillen < Old French apareillier to make fit, fit out < Vulgar Latin *appariculāre, equivalent to ap- ap-1 + *paricul(us) a fit (see par, -cule1) + -ā- thematic vowel + -re infinitive suffix
Related forms
overappareled, adjective
unappareled, adjective
well-appareled, adjective
well-apparelled, adjective
1. clothes, dress, garb, costume, habiliments, vesture. 6. outfit, array, deck out. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for apparel
  • Wearing apparel includes any costume or article of clothing that people wear.
  • Clothing with the permanent-press treatment usually costs more, 50 cents to $1 more, than comparable apparel made without it.
  • Clothing makers are using synthetic materials like microfibers to make winter apparel warm without being bulky.
  • He donned the apparel as a macho man up for a dare.
  • The origins of that particular piece of apparel are certainly interesting.
  • Incidentally, dress codes in every society is a function of local living conditions and available material for making apparel.
  • He got into the apparel business after being laid off as a teacher.
  • Nevertheless, in the long run the prospects for low-value-added apparel do not appear good.
  • All this sameness is a big problem for the apparel business.
  • Leggings made from denim and Lycra are a bright spot in the apparel industry this holiday.
British Dictionary definitions for apparel


something that covers or adorns, esp outer garments or clothing
(nautical) a vessel's gear and equipment
verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
(archaic) (transitive) to clothe, adorn, etc
Word Origin
C13: from Old French apareillier to make ready, from Vulgar Latin appariculāre (unattested), from Latin apparāre, from parāre to prepare
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for apparel

mid-13c., "to equip (in any way)," from Old French apareillier (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *appariculare. This is either from Latin apparare "prepare, make ready" (see apparatus), or from Vulgar Latin *ad-particulare "to put things together." The meaning "to attire in proper clothing" is from mid-14c. Cognate with Italian aparecchiare, Spanish aparejar, Portuguese aparelhar. Related: Appareled; apparelled; appareling; apparelling.


"personal outfit or attire," early 14c., also "ship's rigging," from Old French apareil "preparation," from apareillier (see apparel (v.)). Earlier in same sense was apparelment (early 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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apparel in the Bible

In Old Testament times the distinction between male and female attire was not very marked. The statute forbidding men to wear female apparel (Deut. 22:5) referred especially to ornaments and head-dresses. Both men and women wore (1) an under garment or tunic, which was bound by a girdle. One who had only this tunic on was spoken of as "naked" (1 Sam. 19:24; Job 24:10; Isa. 20:2). Those in high stations sometimes wore two tunics, the outer being called the "upper garment" (1 Sam. 15:27; 18:4; 24:5; Job 1:20). (2.) They wore in common an over-garment ("mantle," Isa. 3:22; 1 Kings 19:13; 2 Kings 2:13), a loose and flowing robe. The folds of this upper garment could be formed into a lap (Ruth 3:15; Ps. 79:12; Prov. 17:23; Luke 6:38). Generals of armies usually wore scarlet robes (Judg. 8:26; Nah. 2:3). A form of conspicuous raiment is mentioned in Luke 20:46; comp. Matt. 23:5. Priests alone wore trousers. Both men and women wore turbans. Kings and nobles usually had a store of costly garments for festive occasions (Isa. 3:22; Zech. 3:4) and for presents (Gen. 45:22; Esther 4:4; 6:8, 11; 1 Sam. 18:4; 2 Kings 5:5; 10:22). Prophets and ascetics wore coarse garments (Isa. 20:2; Zech. 13:4; Matt. 3:4).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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