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

Before popping the loaf into the oven, dust the dough with flour and then cut it across the top for a decorative flare. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Make Bread Even If You're a Beginner in the Kitchen," 8 Mar. 2019 The rack also works well as a cookbook shelf or small decorative display. Jessica Dailey, Good Housekeeping, "X-tra Counter Space," 11 Feb. 2019 In the first, Rafa delivers the dowry stipulated by Úrsula (Carmiña Martinez), the matriarch of her tribe: 30 goats, 20 cows, five necklaces and two decorative mules. WSJ, "‘Birds of Passage’ Review: Splendor and the Grass," 14 Feb. 2019 The languid, organic, and decorative style of turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau was replaced with bold shapes and strong color-blocking. Todd Plummer, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 100-Year-Old German Art School That’s Still Influencing the Fashion World," 13 Feb. 2019 The languid, organic, and decorative style of turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau was replaced with bold shapes and strong color-blocking. Todd Plummer, Town & Country, "One Century Later, Bauhaus Is Still a Major Fashion Influence," 13 Feb. 2019 Menu highlights included oysters with decorative flowers, lamb keema, and avocado bhel puri. Zachary Schwartz, Vogue, "Prabal Gurung Breaks Naan With Fashion’s Finest at His Post-Show Dinner," 11 Feb. 2019 Today, a circular area in the middle of the yard, protected by cast-iron pillars linked together with decorative chains, was believed by the previous owner to be the entrance of an underground tunnel. Janet Eastman,, "Portland's secret marble 'mausoleum' mansion sells for $500,000 (photos)," 19 Apr. 2018 In the Stone copies, a decorative diagonal line runs through the T. The line does not appear to be in the original. Washington Post, "Rare Declaration of Independence copy 1 of James Madison’s 2," 24 Feb. 2018

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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Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for decorative

The first known use of decorative was in 1791

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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

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