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

transitive verb

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

Did you know?

Embellish is related to the French word for "beautiful," bel, and, traditionally, it has been used to imply beautifying an object with the addition of things unessential. That's still true; however, it is equally appealing as an adjective for making statements or stories sound more entertaining.

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

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 Both garments were embellished with belt buckles and paired with black slacks. Esme Mazzeo, Peoplemag, 15 July 2024 Inside the primary bedroom, details like an arched fireplace and curved ceiling stand out among wooden doors, and its en-suite bath channels the work of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, featuring a curved dual sink and soaking tub embellished with jewel-like emerald green tiles. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 12 July 2024 Styles are also embellished with an anchor motif to further the nautical vibes. Layla Ilchi, WWD, 11 July 2024 Almost every bed has dense plantings of something — lettuces, spinach, arugula and red-stemmed dandelions (a zesty salad green) — embellished with sunflowers. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 8 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for embellish 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'embellish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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


Dictionary Entries Near embellish

Cite this Entry

“Embellish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embellish. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


em·​bel·​lish im-ˈbel-ish How to pronounce embellish (audio)
: to make beautiful with ornamentation : decorate
a book embellished with pictures

More from Merriam-Webster on embellish

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