dec·​o·​rate | \ ˈde-kə-ˌrāt How to pronounce decorate (audio) \
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

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 The Perlée beads also decorate a new iteration of Van Cleef’s signature secret watch, which is covered by a round colorful stone and fringed with the gold beads. Jill Newman, Town & Country, 15 Sep. 2022 Containers planted with colorful flowers decorate the grill area, and string lights provide ambience from above. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Aug. 2022 Kids decorate their bikes or dress in costumes, often with their pet. Jeff Banowetz, Chicago Tribune, 12 Aug. 2022 But Chao and Yu didn’t just decorate this set with jokey decor. Tyler Coates, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Aug. 2022 Black and blue bows still decorate poles along the highway that connects Pikeville to Allen to honor the three men and K-9 who died. Krista Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 2 Aug. 2022 Paint and decorate mini pumpkins to resemble the faces of a deer, bear, and fox; mount on wood slices. Charlyne Mattox, Country Living, 15 July 2022 Cobalt blues and charcoal grays decorate the Maldivian-style thatched oasis. Katie Lockhart, CNN, 11 July 2022 Participants decorate their bikes and themselves in red, white and blue Mayor William Tomko and the Safe Routes Chicken will officiate. Joan Rusek, cleveland, 22 June 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Redecorate with peel and stick wallpaper selected by our Reviews team.

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Time Traveler for decorate

Time Traveler

The first known use of decorate was in 1530

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Last Updated

22 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Decorate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for decorate


dec·​o·​rate | \ ˈde-kə-ˌrāt How to pronounce decorate (audio) \
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.

More from Merriam-Webster on decorate

Nglish: Translation of decorate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decorate for Arabic Speakers


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