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 Apatow wore look 77 from the spring 2024 collection, with a full tulle skirt and a cropped bra top, both embellished with a beaded floral pattern. Vogue, 14 Sep. 2023 For the sweet ending, decide between a chewy fudge brownie embellished with chili meringues, plantain chips and caramelized white chocolate sauce; or the orange creamsicle cheesecake made with Arizona citrus cremeux, blood orange gel and meringue. Georgann Yara, The Arizona Republic, 7 Sep. 2023 Naomi Campbell In a sheer black dress embellished with silver studs all over, from her new collection for the brand. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 Sep. 2023 The explosion had sent her dishes flying off her shelves, covering her body with pieces of white plates embellished with Ukrainian designs. Siobhán O'Grady, Heidi Levine and Serhii Korolchuk, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Aug. 2023 Ulla Johnson Theodora Pullover Yara Shahidi stepped out in Ulla Johnson’s sheer green Theodora sweater embellished with feminine frills. Ingrid Schmidt, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Aug. 2023 Inside, soaring and embellished ceilings, stone fireplaces, and a sweeping wooden staircase are among the home’s original period features. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 1 Sep. 2023 Fisher also recently launched a collection of jewelry, cheekily named Chic AF, woven with a mélange of metal and fibers, hand-gilded in 24k gold, and embellished with semiprecious stones. Rima Suqi, Condé Nast Traveler, 29 Aug. 2023 The trousers are further embellished with a flashy wallet chain, which goes perfectly with her layers of pearl and silver choker necklaces. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 22 Aug. 2023 See More

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 26 Sep. 2023.

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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