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 longtime partnership with UGG has rolled out yet another campaign featuring the long-time face of the brand Ian Isiah surrounded by new denim UGG boots and bags adorned with the Telfar motif. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 22 Sep. 2023 This longline coat is decorated with lapels and cuffs adorned with imitation fur and can be tied at the waist with a matching corduroy belt (essential for keeping out the cold). Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 22 Sep. 2023 Agents searched her vehicle and found the pink diaper bag adorned with rainbows. Noah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times, 22 Sep. 2023 In April, conservatives became incensed after 26-year-old trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney released an Instagram video showing off a promotional can of Bud Light, adorned with Mulvaney’s face, that Anheuser-Busch had sent her as one of its micro-ambassadors. Kathryn Joyce, The New Republic, 12 Sep. 2023 An idyllic resort adorned with both antique touches and modern-luxury flair, Camp Lucy provides a Texas-chic wedding experience with scenic views of the Hill Country as its backdrop. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 19 Sep. 2023 Stepping into the plush boutique adorned in an ornate palette of pastels could only be compared to walking into a life-size jewel box. Eliseé Browchuk, Vogue, 18 Sep. 2023 The decor was similarly John Hughes–worthy, as the venue was decked out with several disco balls, a photobooth courtesy of Revolve, and cheesy party streamers adorning the walls, all of which truly encapsulate the over-the-top aesthetic of the era. Danielle Sinay, Glamour, 18 Sep. 2023 Coaches adorned giant necklaces with his name draped across their chests. Nikstreng, oregonlive, 16 Sep. 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 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to enhance the appearance of with ornaments

More from Merriam-Webster on adorn

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