embellish

verb
em·​bel·​lish | \ im-ˈbe-lish How to pronounce embellish (audio) \
embellished; embellishing; embellishes

Definition of embellish

transitive verb

1 : to make beautiful with ornamentation : decorate a book embellished with illustrations
2 : to heighten the attractiveness of by adding decorative or fanciful details : enhance embellished our account of the trip

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Other Words from embellish

embellisher noun

Choose the Right Synonym for embellish

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

Did You Know?

Like its synonyms adorn, ornament, and garnish, embellish means to make something beautiful by the addition of a decorative or fanciful feature. Traditionally, the word is used specifically to stress the addition of superfluous or adventitious ornament, as in "The printer embellished the page with a floral border." Embellish differs from its synonyms, however, in that it is sometimes used in a euphemistic way to refer to the inclusion of details that are not necessarily true to make a story sound more appealing. The word derives via Middle English from the Anglo-French verb embelir, from en- and bel ("beautiful").

Examples of embellish in a Sentence

a book embellished with colorful illustrations He embellished his speech with a few quotations.
Recent Examples on the Web Miu Miu saw fit to embellish turtlenecks with crystals. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, "Zoom Shirts Are Out. Zoom Fashion Is In.," 19 Feb. 2021 While these were to be expected, the bows, chains, and scrunchies that arrived later to embellish the face mask, were not. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "2020’s Most Popular Trends Were As Peculiar As The Year Itself," 24 Dec. 2020 Mistaking severity for honesty, critics pile on extra syllables and superlatives to embellish their abuse. Theodore Gioia, The New Republic, "Death to the Negative Restaurant Review," 16 Dec. 2020 An unwritten yet strictly adhered to, fisherman’s code gives the story teller the freedom to embellish the facts when recalling the pain and untimely loss of a giant beast fish. Kirk Sides, Chron, "League City and Webster fishing holes play part in fish tales tradition," 13 Nov. 2020 Many of us use tropical plants in containers to embellish our homes indoors. Dan Gill, NOLA.com, "Start now to transition tropical plants back inside for the winter," 28 Oct. 2020 The format for a plague column was fairly standard: a Doric or Corinthian column erected on top of a base and embellished with assorted statuary. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: U.S. should build a memorial ‘plague column’ for COVID-19, but where? Here’s an idea," 5 May 2020 Since 2011, various models of the watch have seen the rotor embellished with all matter of couture-like materials including pearls, feathers, woven silk threads and beetle shells. Ming Liu, New York Times, "Personalization: From the Watch Dial to the Strap," 1 May 2020 The perfect cold-weather dish meets its ideal sidekick in a sweet potato given the Hasselback treatment and embellished with tarragon gremolata and hickory nut dukkah — a zesty mash of herbs and warm spices, respectively. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Nina May is dialed into diners’ desires in Logan Circle," 4 Mar. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for embellish

Middle English, from Anglo-French embeliss-, stem of embelir, from en- + bel beautiful — more at beauty

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Time Traveler for embellish

Time Traveler

The first known use of embellish was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Embellish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embellish. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for embellish

embellish

verb

English Language Learners Definition of embellish

: to decorate (something) by adding special details and features : to make (something) more appealing or attractive

embellish

verb
em·​bel·​lish | \ im-ˈbe-lish How to pronounce embellish (audio) \
embellished; embellishing

Kids Definition of embellish

: decorate sense 1 Artwork embellished the book.

Other Words from embellish

embellishment \ -​mənt \ noun

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Comments on embellish

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