dec·o·rate | \ˈde-kə-ˌrāt \
decorated; decorating

Definition of decorate 

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to furnish something with ornamentation decorating for the party

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of decorate in a Sentence

I always enjoy decorating the Christmas tree. I decorated my apartment in dark colors.

Recent Examples on the Web

Ellis said members will arrive earlier in the day to decorate the room, arrange flowers and set the table. Steve Sadin,, "Patty Turner Center turns back the clock to the 1950s," 12 July 2018 Sh-neila Lee Lee started the non-profit Cakes 4 Kids this year in an effort to teach teenagers who are in foster care or experiencing homelessness how to decorate cakes. Leah Asmelash, charlotteobserver, "How one woman wants to help foster care youth, and it involves cake," 12 July 2018 Cocina Madrigal includes a 40-seat patio that will open at the end of summer, and there's still more to be done to decorate the restaurant. Kellie Hwang, azcentral, "Former longtime Z'Tejas chef finally opens his own Mexican restaurant in Phoenix," 12 July 2018 Ronaldo is now set to embark on a new journey in Italy and will be looking to further decorate his brimming cabinet following all of his achievements in England and Spain., "Cristiano Ronaldo's Agent Jorge Mendes Says Juventus Will Be the Player's Last Club," 11 July 2018 Great Pumpkin Carve Where: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania When: TBA More than 60 artists compete in this event, which started in the early 1970s after painters Andrew and Jamie Wyeth carved pumpkins to decorate a local inn. Catherine Strawn, Country Living, "17 Amazing Halloween Celebrations Across America," 11 July 2018 Hill, who lost both legs in a motor-vehicle accident while on active duty, sat in a wheelchair as his children used washable paint to decorate a patient pony named Root Beer with circles, stars, and wavy lines. Brian Macquarrie,, "At Maine retreat, disabled veterans find sense of belonging," 6 July 2018 Those in the parade are encouraged to decorate their bicycles, tricycles, wagons and strollers. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "West University Place readies for Independence Day Bike Parade and Pool Party," 27 June 2018 The candle comes with a set of colorful sense-themed stickers (sight, smell, and so on) that one can use to decorate the candle’s white vessel to one’s liking. Kelly Conaboy, The Cut, "The Perfect Candle for Lovers of Stickers and Romance," 22 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of decorate

1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for decorate

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

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Statistics for decorate

Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for decorate

The first known use of decorate was in 1530

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More Definitions for decorate



English Language Learners Definition of decorate

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

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


dec·o·rate | \ˈde-kə-ˌrāt \
decorated; decorating

Kids Definition of decorate

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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Comments on decorate

What made you want to look up decorate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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