accompaniment

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

n a musical part (vocal or instrumental) that supports or provides background for other musical parts

Synonyms:
backup, musical accompaniment, support
Types:
descant, discant
a decorative musical accompaniment (often improvised) added above a basic melody
vamp
an improvised musical accompaniment
Type of:
part, voice
the melody carried by a particular voice or instrument in polyphonic music

n an event or situation that happens at the same time as or in connection with another

Synonyms:
attendant, co-occurrence, concomitant
Types:
associate
any event that usually accompanies or is closely connected with another
background
relatively unimportant or inconspicuous accompanying situation
Type of:
happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent
an event that happens

n the act of accompanying someone or something in order to protect them

Synonyms:
escort
Types:
convoy
the act of escorting while in transit
Type of:
protection
the activity of protecting someone or something

n something added to complete or embellish or make perfect

“wild rice was served as an accompaniment to the main dish”
Synonyms:
complement
Type of:
adjunct
something added to another thing but not an essential part of it

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