from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n.pl. Personal belongings.
- n.pl. The articles used in a particular activity; equipment: a photographer's paraphernalia. See Synonyms at equipment.
- n.pl. A married woman's personal property exclusive of her dowry, according to common law.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Miscellaneous items, especially the set of equipment required for a particular activity; stuff.
- n. Things a woman owns, apart from her dowry.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n.pl. Something reserved to a wife, over and above her dower, being chiefly apparel and ornaments suited to her degree.
- n.pl. Personal belongings; ornaments; finery; sundry objects carried about for personal convenience.
- n.pl. The appendages, apparatus, or equipment used in a particular activity.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In law, those personal articles which the common law recognized the right of a married woman to own and keep, notwithstanding the marital right of her husband to her personal property in general.
- n. Personal ornaments or accessories of attire; trappings; equipments, especially such as are used on parade, or for ostentatious display, as the symbolic garments, ornaments, weapons, etc., used by freemasons or the like.
- n. Miscellaneous possessions, as the numerous small conveniences of a traveler, small decorative objects, and the like.
- n. Ornaments, or ornamental accessories, collectively.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. equipment consisting of miscellaneous articles needed for a particular operation or sport etc.
Medieval Latin paraphernālia, neuter pl. of paraphernālis, pertaining to the parapherna, a married woman's property exclusive of her dowry, from Greek : para-, beyond; see para-1 + phernē, dowry; see bher-1 in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
The origin of the word is Ancient Greek παρά (para) + φερνή (phernē) (“things additional to a dowry”). In the propertied classes, a dowry was placed under the control of the husband, while the 'paraphernalia' which she brought with her remained the wife’s property. (Wiktionary)