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

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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 VIPs receive prime seating for the concert and fireworks, may bring their own food and drink, can participate in a table-decorating contest and receive access to separate VIP restroom options. Chris Sims, The Indianapolis Star, "CarmelFest, Hamilton County festivals attempt to save Fourth of July during coronavirus," 21 May 2020 In 1995 his firm began supplying a Japanese coffin-maker with panels decorated with phoenixes and lotus flowers. The Economist, "Chaguan A small town in China makes half of Japan’s coffins," 14 May 2020 Add a lot of ice, and decorate with a lemon wedge, berries, and fresh herbs like mint or basil. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "The World’s Best Bartenders Share Easy Cocktail Recipes You Can Make at Home," 12 May 2020 The cathode of our biofuel cell is composed of a mesh of carbon nanotubes decorated with nanoparticles containing platinum and cobalt. Wei Gao, The Conversation, "A smart second skin gets all the power it needs from sweat," 22 Apr. 2020 Sanders backers held campaign signs decorated with white Christmas lights to amplify his name. Emily Larsen, Washington Examiner, "Raucous crowd at New Hampshire Democratic fundraiser reflects long-simmering tensions among candidates," 9 Feb. 2020 Woolley unearthed five boards, the most impressive of which featured shell plaque squares encircled by strips of lapis lazuli and decorated with intricate floral and geometric designs. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Best Board Games of the Ancient World," 6 Feb. 2020 Good, has gone full throttle into a style decorated with white-hot vocal snaps and pleasurable melodies. Harry Levin, Billboard, "The Seven Best Musical Moments of Holy Ship! Wrecked 2020: Diplo, Duck Sauce & More," 29 Jan. 2020 As documented on Haddow’s personal blog, skulls covered with plaster to resemble living people, their eye sockets decorated with cowrie shells and other ornaments, represent just one example of secondary burial rites practiced at Çatalhöyük. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Unearth Beads Made of Human Teeth in Ancient Turkish City," 16 Dec. 2019

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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Learn More about decorate

Time Traveler for decorate

Time Traveler

The first known use of decorate was in 1530

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Statistics for decorate

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decorate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for decorate


How to pronounce decorate (audio)

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 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.

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