Douglas G. Wilson
douglas at NB.NET
Sun Aug 26 12:46:03 UTC 2001
Just a wild conjecture, in case nothing better can be found. Maybe this is
an error or neologism based on "accoutrements".
["Acconstrainments" would appear to reflect a Latin verb like
"adconstringere"/"acconstringere". There is "constringere" > "constrain"
etc. and there is "a(d)stringere" > "astringent", but I can't find the
whole monstrosity, nor a reflex in any likely language (working from my
small home library and the Web).]
The word "accoutrements" = "trappings" fits the sense fairly well, and it
was a new word in English in the 16th century, I think. Suppose the author
had seen this unfamiliar word and because of poor handwriting or typography
had read it as a French-derived word "accontrements" ... then he might have
Anglicized it as "acconstrainment" by speculatively deriving the "-contre-"
from French "contraindre" = "constrain". Or maybe the word even appeared as
something like "acc'tr'mts." I think the spelling "accoustrements" might
have appeared in those days, too, giving the erroneous "acconstrements"
which again might have been altered to "acconstrainments".
-- Doug Wilson
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