verb dec·o·rate \ ˈde-kə-ˌrāt \
|Updated on: 7 Aug 2018

Definition of decorate

decorated; decorating
1 : to add honor to
  • decorated commerce with the splendid virtues of honor and loyalty
  • —Geoffrey Household
2 : to furnish with something ornamental
  • decorate a room with artwork
  • decorating the Christmas tree
3 : to award a mark of honor to
  • a soldier decorated for valor
  • highly decorated war veterans
: to furnish something with ornamentation
  • decorating for the party

Examples of decorate in a Sentence

  1. I always enjoy decorating the Christmas tree.

  2. I decorated my apartment in dark colors.

Recent Examples of decorate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decorate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of decorate

Latin decoratus, past participle of decorare, from decor-, decus ornament, honor — more at decent

Synonym Discussion of decorate

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

DECORATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of decorate for English Language Learners

  • : to make (something) more attractive usually by putting something on it

  • : to give a medal or award to (someone, such as a soldier)

DECORATE Defined for Kids


verb dec·o·rate \ ˈde-kə-ˌrāt \

Definition of decorate for Students

decorated; decorating
1 : to make more attractive by adding beautiful or festive things
  • We decorated the room with flowers.
2 : to award a badge of honor to
  • The soldier was decorated for bravery.

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