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[par-uh-fer-neyl-yuh, -fuh-neyl-] /ˌpær ə fərˈneɪl yə, -fəˈneɪl-/
(sometimes used with a singular verb) equipment, apparatus, or furnishing used in or necessary for a particular activity:
a skier's paraphernalia.
(used with a plural verb) personal belongings.
(used with a singular verb) Law. the personal articles, apart from dower, reserved by law to a married woman.
Origin of paraphernalia
1470-80; < Medieval Latin paraphernālia (bona) a bride's goods, beyond her dowry, equivalent to Late Latin paraphern(a) a bride's property (< Greek parápherna, equivalent to para- para-1 + phern() dowry, derivative of phérein to bear1 + -a neuter plural noun suffix) + Latin -ālia, noun use of neuter plural of -ālis -al1
Related forms
paraphernalian, paraphernal
[par-uh-fur-nl] /ˌpær əˈfɜr nl/ (Show IPA),
1. appointments, appurtenances, accouterments, trappings. 2. effects. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for paraphernalia
  • Women have purses and other paraphernalia and do not want to put them on the floor.
  • It features the people, places, and paraphernalia everyone will be talking about in 2005.
  • As the book notes, arriving volunteers often carried drug paraphernalia.
  • When she started noticing discarded baby paraphernalia piling up in her home, she searched the Web for a way to de-clutter.
  • We knew he had an insanely large collection of computers and related paraphernalia.
  • He also uses a wide assortment of vintage electronics and miscellaneous paraphernalia that might otherwise be considered junk.
  • She is afraid of the paraphernalia of family living.
  • The idea of a cult hit being a powerful force in aftermarket sales of books and paraphernalia was completely unknown — even to me.
  • The paraphernalia of the mid-1940's are here in abundance.
  • The gift shop includes a selection of frightful yet meaningful jewelry, plus other paraphernalia.
British Dictionary definitions for paraphernalia


plural noun (sometimes functioning as sing)
miscellaneous articles or equipment
(law) (formerly) articles of personal property given to a married woman by her husband before or during marriage and regarded in law as her possessions over which she has some measure of control
Word Origin
C17: via Medieval Latin from Latin parapherna personal property of a married woman, apart from her dowry, from Greek, from para-1 + phernē dowry, from pherein to carry
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 paraphernalia

1650s, "a woman's property besides her dowry," from Medieval Latin paraphernalia (short for paraphernalia bona "paraphernal goods"), neuter plural of paraphernalis (adj.), from Late Latin parapherna "a woman's property besides her dowry," from Greek parapherna, neuter plural, from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + pherne "dowry," related to pherein "to carry" (see infer). Meaning "equipment, apparatus" is first attested 1791, from notion of odds and ends.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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