If your menu tonight consists of grilled pork and savory apples, then the pork is the main item and the apples are the accompaniment, meaning they complement the main dish.

The noun accompaniment entered English in the eighteenth century and originally was used in a musical sense to describe a part in a song that supports or acts as background for another more prominent part. Its meaning later expanded to include not only musical assistance but other things that completes or make better the main thing. You’ll often hear it used to describe a food that supports the main item on a plate.

Definitions of accompaniment
  1. noun
    a musical part (vocal or instrumental) that supports or provides background for other musical parts
    synonyms: backup, musical accompaniment, support
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    descant, discant
    a decorative musical accompaniment (often improvised) added above a basic melody
    an improvised musical accompaniment
    type of:
    part, voice
    the melody carried by a particular voice or instrument in polyphonic music
  2. noun
    an event or situation that happens at the same time as or in connection with another
    synonyms: attendant, co-occurrence, concomitant
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    any event that usually accompanies or is closely connected with another
    relatively unimportant or inconspicuous accompanying situation
    type of:
    happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent
    an event that happens
  3. noun
    the act of accompanying someone or something in order to protect them
    synonyms: escort
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    the act of escorting while in transit
    type of:
    the activity of protecting someone or something
  4. noun
    something added to complete or embellish or make perfect
    “wild rice was served as an accompaniment to the main dish”
    synonyms: complement
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    type of:
    something added to another thing but not an essential part of it
Word Family

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