from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A set of matching outer garments, especially one consisting of a coat with trousers or a skirt.
  • n. A costume for a special activity: a diving suit; a running suit.
  • n. A group of things used together; a set or collection: a suit of sails; a suit of tools.
  • n. Games Any of the four sets of 13 playing cards (clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades) in a standard deck, the members of which bear the same marks.
  • n. Attendance required of a vassal at his feudal lord's court or manor.
  • n. Law A court proceeding to recover a right or claim.
  • n. The act or an instance of courting a woman; courtship: She was inclined to accept his suit.
  • n. Slang One who wears a business suit, especially an executive.
  • transitive v. To meet the requirements of; fit: This candidate does not suit our qualifications.
  • transitive v. To make appropriate or suitable; adapt: builders who suit the house to the owner's specifications.
  • transitive v. To be appropriate for; befit: a color that suits you.
  • transitive v. To please; satisfy: a choice that suits us all.
  • transitive v. To provide with clothing; dress: The NCOs suited the recruits in green uniforms.
  • intransitive v. To be suitable or acceptable.
  • intransitive v. To be in accord; agree or match.
  • suit up To put on clothing designed for a special activity: suits up in shorts for a jog.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A set of clothes to be worn together, now especially a man's matching jacket and trousers (also business suit or lounge suit), or a similar outfit for a woman.
  • n. A single garment that covers the whole body: space suit, boiler suit, protective suit
  • n. A person who wears matching jacket and trousers, especially a boss or a supervisor.
  • n. A full set of armour.
  • n. The attempt to gain an end by legal process; a process instituted in a court of law for the recovery of a right or claim; a lawsuit.
  • n. : The act of following or pursuing; pursuit, chase.
  • n. Pursuit of a love-interest; wooing, courtship.
  • n. The full set of sails required for a ship.
  • n. Each of the sets of a pack of cards distinguished by color and/or specific emblems, such as the spades, hearts, diamonds, or clubs of traditional Anglo, Hispanic, and French playing cards.
  • n. Regular order; succession.
  • n. The act of suing; the pursuit of a particular object or goal.
  • n. A company of attendants or followers; a retinue.
  • n. A group of similar or related objects or items considered as a whole; a suite (of rooms etc.)
  • v. To make proper or suitable; to adapt or fit.
  • v. To be suitable or apt for one's image.
  • v. To be appropriate or apt for.
  • v. To dress; to clothe.
  • v. To please; to make content; as, he is well suited with his place; to fit one's taste.
  • v. : To agree; to accord; to be fitted; to correspond; — usually followed by to, archaically also followed by with.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of following or pursuing, as game; pursuit.
  • n. The act of suing; the process by which one endeavors to gain an end or an object; an attempt to attain a certain result; pursuit; endeavor.
  • n. The act of wooing in love; the solicitation of a woman in marriage; courtship.
  • n. The attempt to gain an end by legal process; an action or process for the recovery of a right or claim; legal application to a court for justice; prosecution of right before any tribunal
  • n. That which follows as a retinue; a company of attendants or followers; the assembly of persons who attend upon a prince, magistrate, or other person of distinction; -- often written suite, and pronounced swēt.
  • n. Things that follow in a series or succession; the individual objects, collectively considered, which constitute a series, as of rooms, buildings, compositions, etc.; -- often written suite, and pronounced swēt.
  • n. A number of things used together, and generally necessary to be united in order to answer their purpose; a number of things ordinarily classed or used together; a set
  • n. One of the four sets of cards which constitute a pack; -- each set consisting of thirteen cards bearing a particular emblem, as hearts, spades, clubs, or diamonds; also, the members of each such suit held by a player in certain games, such as bridge.
  • n. Regular order; succession.
  • n. Someone who dresses in a business suit, as contrasted with more informal attire
  • intransitive v. To agree; to accord; to be fitted; to correspond; -- usually followed by with or to.
  • transitive v. To fit; to adapt; to make proper or suitable.
  • transitive v. To be fitted to; to accord with; to become; to befit.
  • transitive v. To dress; to clothe.
  • transitive v. To please; to make content.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To adapt; accommodate; fit; make suitable.
  • To be fitted or adapted to; be suitable or appropriate to; befit; answer the requirements of.
  • To be agreeable to; fall in with the views, wishes, or convenience of: as, a style of living to suit one's tastes.
  • To dress, as with a suit of clothes; clothe.
  • Synonyms To comport with, tally with, correspond to, match, meet.
  • To please, gratify, content.
  • To correspond; agree; accord: generally followed by with or to.
  • n. A following; the act of pursuing, as game; pursuit.
  • n. Series; succession; regular order.
  • n. The act of suing; a seeking for something by solicitation or petition; an address of entreaty; petition; prayer.
  • n. Especially— A petition made to a person of exalted station, as a prince or prelate.
  • n. Solicitation for a woman's hand in marriage; courtship; proposal of marriage.
  • n. In law. A proceeding in a court of justice for the enforcement or protection of a right or claim, or for the redress of a wrong; prosecution of a right or claim before any tribunal: as, a civil suit; a criminal suit; a suit in chancery.
  • n. The witnesses or followers of the plaintiff in an action at law.
  • n. In feudal law, a following or attendance.
  • n. A company of attendants or followers; train; retinue. Now commonly suite.
  • n. A number of things composing a sequence or succession; a number of things of a like kind that follow in a series and are intended to be used together; a set or suite; specifically, one of the four sets or classes, known as spades, clubs, hearts, and diamonds, into which playing-cards are divided.
  • n. A number of different objects intended to be used together, especially when made of similar materials and corresponding in general character and purpose: thus, a number of different garments designed to he worn together form a suit of clothes; a number of sails of different sizes and fitting different spars form a suit of sails.
  • n. Synonyms Request, Petition, etc. See prayer.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a man's courting of a woman; seeking the affections of a woman (usually with the hope of marriage)
  • n. a petition or appeal made to a person of superior status or rank
  • n. a set of garments (usually including a jacket and trousers or skirt) for outerwear all of the same fabric and color
  • v. be agreeable or acceptable to
  • v. enhance the appearance of
  • v. accord or comport with
  • n. playing card in any of four sets of 13 cards in a pack; each set has its own symbol and color
  • n. (slang) a businessman dressed in a business suit
  • n. a comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual seeks a legal remedy
  • v. be agreeable or acceptable


Middle English sute, from Anglo-Norman, from Vulgar Latin *sequita, act of following, feminine of *sequitus, past participle of *sequere, to follow, from Latin sequī; see suitor.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman siute, from Old French sieute (modern suite), originally a participle adjective from vulgar Latin *sequita (for Classical Latin secuta), from Latin sequi ("to follow"), because the component garments "follow each other", i.e. are worn together. (Wiktionary)



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  • This is fascinating. Thanks, qroqqa! I love your etymological explorations.

    September 2, 2008

  • One of those words with a complicated unfolding of senses. The origin is Latin *sequit-, past participle of seq- "follow", and the earliest meanings in English (late 1200s) are three senses of a "following":
    (i) attendance on a lord at court, i.e. following one's lord there;
    (ii) a lord's following, i.e. his company or retinue;
    (iii) the livery worn by a following or retinue.

    Then came the sense of "pursuit", hunting or seeking, and in the early 1400s this developed the sense of pursuing someone at law, a lawsuit. This then widened to any supplication or petition (early to mid 1400s). In the late 1500s it took on the particular sense of "courtship, wooing".

    Now I'm guessing it was the "livery" sense that around 1400 was extended to any set of matching things: first clothing; then playing-cards (early 1500s); and numerous obsolete uses. 'Suit of armour' is modern, no earlier than Sir Walter Scott.

    The variant form 'suite' took on various "set" meanings: rooms (early 1700s), music (mid 1700s), furniture (early 1800s), bathroom fittings (early 1900s).

    September 2, 2008

  • Wow. That'll keep you quiet, huh?

    April 11, 2008

  • "People are hassling me today for wearing a suit."


    "I'm just trying to get you all funding for the next three years, that's all."


    --My boss, two minutes ago.

    April 10, 2008