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 The most skilled of these artists embellish their lettering with 24-karat gold leaf, a technique dating back to the 12th century. Jeff Csatari, Popular Mechanics, "This Brooklyn Artist Is Bringing Back Ancient Sign-Painting Techniques," 9 Dec. 2019 In both cases, as with Clinton’s emails in 2016 or municipal corruption in New York in the 1980s, Trump’s approach is to take a nugget of fact, wildly embellish it, then repeat his claims again and again as they get amplified on social media. Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times, "Trump’s attacks on Biden follow a playbook he’s practiced for more than 30 years," 11 Oct. 2019 Dave Benett/WireImage for amfAR Heavily pregnant and clad in a gold dress embellished with delicate flowers, Africa’s richest woman leaned on a throne and stared soulfully from a palatial backdrop. Marc Bain, Quartz Africa, "European fashion giants took millions from daughter of former Angolan autocrat," 19 Jan. 2020 That desire to embellish familiar dishes produced one of Tlahco’s few misfires, a plate called Migas Diablas that turned chips and eggs into a ruddy mess with chorizo that was somehow greasy and dry at the same time. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "Review: Tlahco Mexican Kitchen is one of San Antonio’s best Mexican restaurants," 5 Dec. 2019 Beatrice paired her pink dress with a black headband embellished by a white floral design, while Eugenie’s similar black and white hat complemented her patterned outfit. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Here Come the Royal Hats! All About Meghan, Kate and Camilla's Fashion at Trooping the Color," 8 June 2019 Though it was later edited and embellished by sound designers, Suotamo actually did the voice inside the suit, on the set, during scenes. Christopher Borrelli, chicagotribune.com, "What lurks underneath 'Star Wars'' new Chewbacca? A 7-foot-3-inch former basketball player from Finland," 24 May 2018 Applying logic here, what would the Patriots gain from faking an injury or embellishing the extent of an injury to Brady? Bud Shaw, cleveland.com, "What matters more to the Browns in their QB search, size or accuracy? -- Bud Shaw's Spinoffs," 19 Jan. 2018 The shrine of Imam Reza was expanded and embellished in the early 17th century as a magnificent architectural complex. Washington Post, "What Trump’s tweet threatening Iran’s cultural sites could mean for Shiite Muslims," 9 Jan. 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

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

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Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Embellish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embellish. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for embellish


How to pronounce embellish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of embellish

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


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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