adorned; adorning; adorns

transitive verb

: to enhance the appearance of especially with beautiful objects
adorned the wall with her paintings
: to enliven or decorate as if with ornaments
people of fashion who adorned the Court
Choose the Right Synonym for adorn

adorn, decorate, ornament, embellish, beautify, deck, garnish mean to enhance the appearance of something by adding something unessential.

adorn implies an enhancing by something beautiful in itself.

a diamond necklace adorned her neck

decorate suggests relieving plainness or monotony by adding beauty of color or design.

decorate a birthday cake

ornament and embellish imply the adding of something extraneous, ornament stressing the heightening or setting off of the original

a white house ornamented with green shutters

, embellish often stressing the adding of superfluous or adventitious ornament.

embellish a page with floral borders

beautify adds to embellish a suggestion of counterbalancing plainness or ugliness.

will beautify the grounds with flower beds

deck implies the addition of something that contributes to gaiety, splendor, or showiness.

a house all decked out for Christmas

garnish suggests decorating with a small final touch and is used especially in referring to the serving of food.

an entrée garnished with parsley

Examples of adorn in a Sentence

Her paintings adorn the walls. the Sultan's tent was richly adorned with thick tapestries and gleaming gold candlesticks
Recent Examples on the Web The lively boardwalk, adorned with vibrant shops, enticing restaurants and fun amusements, radiates an infectious energy day and night. Maeghan Dolph, Fox News, 19 Nov. 2023 It was first used in Germany in the early 1600s when the silver material was draped over tree branches to catch the flickering lights of the real candles used to adorn Christmas trees. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Nov. 2023 Perfect for adorning your Christmas tree, they can also be repurposed as chandelier chains or wedding decorations, providing beauty and charm beyond the holiday season. Poppy Morgan, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2023 Dedicate a morning to adorning your tree with all the string lights and family heirloom ornaments. Zoe Denenberg, Southern Living, 14 Nov. 2023 While there’s no empirical evidence that a turkey adorned the first Thanksgiving table, common sense suggests that at least one gobbler could have been gobbled up on that auspicious occasion. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 14 Nov. 2023 One of the dresses from the Lebanese fashion designer featured a floor-length flowing skirt made from black lace, and the second featured off-the-shoulder sleeves and a long train, both of which were adorned with rose appliqués. Bailey Richards, Peoplemag, 12 Nov. 2023 Earlier in the day for a visit at Camp Pendleton, Meghan also wore a navy blue crew-neck cardigan by American designer Carolina Herrera, which was adorned with delicate red and black poppy appliqués. Vogue, 10 Nov. 2023 Beneath the sapphire crystal glass, another sentimental touch was added to the 22-karat yellow-gold rotor, which is adorned with an engraving of Philippe Stern’s signature. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, 10 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'adorn.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English aournen, adournen, borrowed from Anglo-French aurner, adourner (with d restored from Latin), going back to Latin adōrnāre "to get ready, prepare, decorate, embellish," from ad- ad- + ōrnāre "to prepare, equip, embellish" — more at ornate

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of adorn was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near adorn

Cite this Entry

“Adorn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to enhance the appearance of with ornaments

More from Merriam-Webster on adorn

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