em·bel·lish | \im-ˈbe-lish \
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

His bride wore a wedding gown with a mermaid silhouette, embellished with jewels along the V-neck. Aurelie Corinthios, PEOPLE.com, "Dancing with the Stars Champ J.R. Martinez Marries Longtime Girlfriend Diana Gonzalez-Jones," 3 July 2018 Guests gathered around the bonfires peppered throughout the park to toast their marshmallows and make S'mores at a table embellished with graham crackers, bags of marshmallows and wooden sticks. Nerisha Penrose, Billboard, "Here's What Went Down at Kanye West's #ProjectWyoming Brooklyn Pop-Up Shop," 8 June 2018 Sedaris, whose work is ostensibly non-fiction, has been criticized for embellishing his tales or inventing characters. Gary Levin, USA TODAY, "'Calypso': David Sedaris shines in tales of family, loss and a favorite turtle," 28 May 2018 How much of his Trump tell-all is embellished or misrepresented is unclear and may never be known. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "This new Trump book could do even more damage than Michael Wolff's. Here's why.," 22 Jan. 2018 But that wasn't all: Kim also showed off another smaller clutch in the video, this one embellished with tiny crystals. Jennifer Lance, Glamour, "North West Just Won the Preschool Handbag Game With This $750 Birthday Present," 2 June 2018 The dress’ design was inspired by a Botticelli painting and was embellished with 10,000 seed pearls, taking 350 women seven weeks to complete it. Cady Lang, Time, "25 Classic Royal Wedding Dresses That Could Inspire Meghan Markle," 3 May 2018 That is to say, from Diego Costa, whose marvelous individual work created his first goal—yes, there was contact with Pepe, but Pepe embellished it—and who finished an old-fashioned set-piece sequence for his second. Grant Wahl, SI.com, "Cristiano Ronaldo Hat Trick, Heroics Cap Drama-Packed Day 2 at 2018 World Cup," 15 June 2018 An investigation by USA TODAY Sports found that, despite Lochte embellishing the detail of being held with a gun to his forehead, the framework of his story was true. USA TODAY, "Brazil court allows prosecution of Ryan Lochte over 2016 case," 28 June 2018

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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Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for embellish

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

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More Definitions for embellish



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 \
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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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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