dec·​o·​ra·​tive | \ ˈde-k(ə-)rə-tiv How to pronounce decorative (audio) , ˈde-kə-ˌrā-\

Definition of decorative

: serving to decorate especially : purely ornamental

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Other Words from decorative

decoratively adverb
decorativeness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for decorative


adorning, beautifying, cosmetic, embellishing, ornamental


functional, utilitarian

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Examples of decorative in a Sentence

We added some decorative details to the room. The handles are decorative and practical.

Recent Examples on the Web

Last week, following a major acquisition last year, The Met installed nine fabric designs, a fabric sample book, and two prototypes for decorative vases in its Raffi textile center. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "These Forgotten Frank Lloyd Wright Designs Have a House Beautiful Connection," 23 May 2019 Starting this summer, West Elm will offer RTR subscribers 26 exclusive home bundles for the bedroom and living room, including decorative pillows, quilts, coverlets, shams, and more. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Rent the Runway and West Elm Partner to Create Gorgeous, Rentable Home Essentials," 7 Mar. 2019 More expensive options can include inserts, decorative pillows, a bed skirt, or curtains. Nicole Saporita, Good Housekeeping, "The 5 Best Bed-in-a-Bag Sets You Can Buy," 24 Dec. 2018 Below, the prettiest decorative vases for all for your May flowers. Rachel Waldman, Vogue, "The Very Best Vases For All Your May Flowers," 1 May 2018 Tiffany had already made his name by decorating the lavish homes of the titans of industry – the Carnegies, the Vanderbilts, the Mellons – with his lamps and windows and decorative vases. Carol Motsinger,, "We knew we our stained glass windows were beautiful. We didn't know they were Tiffany.," 29 Mar. 2018 In an otherwise-humdrum estate in Cambridge — heavy on Persian rugs, china dolls and decorative crystal vases — was a white robe, with a deep red patch embroidered over the heart. Washington Post, "KKK robe showed up at a Maryland auction house," 21 Feb. 2018 Unlike a credenza, sideboards typically have cabinets that extend to the floor, and can come with hutches that add additional space for displaying fine china or other decorative pieces. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "How to Choose the Perfect Credenza," 19 Dec. 2018 Additionally, in related news, Hall is going there to celebrate the launch of his collaboration with Svenskt Tenn, which puts his painterly figurative faces and forms over everything from linen pillows to decorative trays to hand-painted lampshades. Mark Holgate, Vogue, "Luke Edward Hall Is Collaborating With Svenskt Tenn, and You’re Going to Want Everything," 15 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decorative.' 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 decorative

1791, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for decorative

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for decorative

The first known use of decorative was in 1791

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More Definitions for decorative



English Language Learners Definition of decorative

: used to make something more attractive : used for decoration


dec·​o·​ra·​tive | \ ˈde-kə-rə-tiv How to pronounce decorative (audio) , ˈde-krə-\

Kids Definition of decorative

: serving to improve appearance : ornamental Decorative banners were hung for the fair.

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More from Merriam-Webster on decorative

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with decorative

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for decorative

Spanish Central: Translation of decorative

Nglish: Translation of decorative for Spanish Speakers

Comments on decorative

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


to take the place or position of

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