verb em·bel·lish \ im-ˈbe-lish \
|Updated on: 12 Aug 2018

Definition of embellish

embellished; embellishing; embellishes
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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Examples of embellish in a Sentence

  1. a book embellished with colorful illustrations

  2. He embellished his speech with a few quotations.

Recent Examples of embellish from the Web

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.

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").

Origin and Etymology of embellish

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

EMBELLISH Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of embellish for English Language Learners

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

EMBELLISH Defined for Kids


verb em·bel·lish \ im-ˈbe-lish \

Definition of embellish for Students

embellished; embellishing
: decorate 1
  • Artwork embellished the book.


\-mənt\ noun

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very hard to disturb or upset

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