1570s, "come side-by-side or face-to-face with," for any reason, from Middle French accoster "move up to, come alongside" (Old French acoster), from Late Latin accostare "come up to the side," from assimilated form of Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + costa "a rib, side" (see coast (n.)). Now usually in the sense "approach and speak to" (1610s). Also picked up in newspaper articles as the verb for a prostitute's solicitation of a customer (1887). Related: Accosted; accosting.
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