from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • noun Clothing, especially the clothing associated with a special occasion or office.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • noun A garment; clothing: usually in the plural: as, the habiliments of war; fashionable habiliments.
  • noun A border, as of gold, pearls, etc., in ancient dress.


  • In the United Kingdom, as in other modern liberal democracies, there are few, if any, restrictions upon one's choice of habiliment.

    Two from Cox: Sumptuary Laws and Sovereignty

  • She even wished to refuse him: – but Beech Park, the equipage, the servants, the bridal habiliment.


  • “Why, then,” said Dick, giving the head-band of his breeches a knowing hoist with one hand, and kicking out one foot behind him to accommodate the adjustment of that important habiliment, “I dares to say the pass will be kend weel eneugh on the road, an that be all.”

    The Heart of Mid-Lothian

  • Madame L'Espanaye and her daughter lived an exceedingly retired life — saw no company — seldom went out — had little use for numerous changes of habiliment.

    The Murders in the Rue Morgue

  • As Vivaldi expressed his incredulity, however, he returned to examine the garment once more, when, as he raised it, he observed, what had before escaped his notice, black drapery mingled with the heap beneath; and, on lifting this also on the point of his sword, he perceived part of the habiliment of a monk!

    The Italian

  • He wore an old full-bottomed wig, the gift of some dandy old Brown whom he had valeted in the middle of last century, which habiliment Master Tom looked upon with considerable respect, not to say fear; and indeed his whole feeling towards Noah was strongly tainted with awe.

    Tom Brown's Schooldays

  • In teaching a young lady to dress elegantly we must first impress upon her mind that symmetry of figure ought ever to be accompanied by harmony of dress, and that there is a certain propriety in habiliment, adapted to form, complexion, and age.

    The Magnificent Montez From Courtesan to Convert


The word 'habiliment' comes into English from French, ultimately from a word meaning 'suitable'.