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

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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 Glass beads are used to embellish the most important stools. Jeanine Hays And Bryan Mason, House Beautiful, 24 Aug. 2021 Brilliant-cut diamonds embellish the bezel of the Tradition 7035 , and for the retrograde seconds indicator, Breguet chose rubies and pink sapphires, which add just enough color to complement the overall decor. Nancy Olson, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 This fine technique, which originated in Medieval England as a way to embellish priestly vestments, was later applied to military and ceremonial uniforms as well as blazer crests signifying membership in schools, clubs or army regiments. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 24 Aug. 2021 The looks that embellish the person’s facial features. Essence, 28 July 2021 Plenty of plush pillows will further embellish your seating area with both comfort and color. Zarah Kavarana, PEOPLE.com, 22 July 2021 The context of those facts only serves to embellish them. New York Times, 25 June 2021 To embellish the cathedral ceiling, McAleer commissioned decorative painter Pauline Curtiss of Patina Designs to create a cement tile-like pattern with a bohemian twist. BostonGlobe.com, 24 June 2021 An easy way to embellish your wedding dress—and all the bridal outfits leading up to the Big Day like your bridal showers and rehearsal dinner—is by choosing a bridal hair accessory that perfectly suits your style. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 26 May 2021

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

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Embellish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embellish. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on embellish

Nglish: Translation of embellish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of embellish for Arabic Speakers


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