December 02, 2011
accolade (noun)
\AK-uh-layd\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a formal salute (as a tap on the shoulder with the blade of a sword) that marks the conferring of knighthood2 : a mark of recognition of merit : praise
How do you use it?
Her final performance was so good that the play received accolades and compliments from all the newspapers in town.
Are you a word wiz?

"Accolade" traces back to the Latin word "accollare." Based on what you know about "accolade," what do you think "accollare" means?

You deserve the accolade of being called a word wiz if you chose C. "Accolade" is from the Latin verb "accollare," meaning "to embrace." When "accolade" came into English in the 1600s, it originally referred to a ceremonial greeting that involved an embrace. Over time, that ceremonial greeting came to be used in the ceremony that conferred knighthood. That original embrace was eventually dropped from the knighting ceremony, but the name "accolade" stuck. Since knighthood is such an honor, "accolade" came to be used of any special honor or praise given to a person.
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