Definitions

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.

Etymologies

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)

Examples

  • Many of these restaurants will integrate paraphernalia from the history of the theater into their interior design.

    Cool Design In Culture Campus by AEQUO Studio

  • Just for fun the company has a chart tracking sales and, sure enough, Huckabee and McCain paraphernalia sales shot up before they took off in the polls and winning contests.

    The Thong Primary - Swampland - TIME.com

  • Seriously: someone tell the kids enjoying the "suite life" that wearing Saints paraphernalia is not a crime.

    Archive 2008-09-01

  • The person who walked off with a hunting stand and related paraphernalia from a wooded area in Gambrills might have had a second thought if he knew who owned them: Sheriff Ronald S. Bateman.

    Hunters Robbing Hunters

  • I should have realized when I tabulated the survey results for a community event where peope received free books and paraphernalia from the organization, yet still had no idea who they were and what they did.

    When passion flames out. «

  • Walpole's more aristocratically-detached contemplation of Gothic paraphernalia is precisely what gave rise to the unprecedented amount of Gothic romances in the

    Haunted Britain in the 1970s

  • All the usual paraphernalia is thereheroic fight against odds, escape at the last moment, shots of galloping horses, love interest, comic relief.

    Boys' Weeklies

  • She also said that the committee’s online store, which sells inaugural paraphernalia, is doing a “robust” business, with 6,000 people having bought items ranging in price from $2 to $400.

    Bill Clinton Asks for Money for Obama Inauguration - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

  • Lucy, about that shawl — that’s not part of your Stevie Nicks paraphernalia, is it?

    Cooper Renner, | clusterflock

  • Standing out amid the paraphernalia is a green-and-gold Oakland A's cap, meant to remind the program's staff of the film Moneyball, in which Brad Pitt plays the renegade baseball executive Billy Beane.

    The Biz: CBS' Morning Glory?

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