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

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 The image also embellishes t-shirts, tote bags, and buttons. Sarah Ewall-wice, CBS News, "Battle for small donors forces 2020 Democrats to get creative with merchandise," 4 Nov. 2019 Wire services such as the Associated Press offered breaking news by telegraph, with the understanding that editors would cut, embellish, or otherwise alter the text for their own pages. Julia Guarneri, Smithsonian, "How Syndicated Columns, Comics and Stories Forever Changed the News Media," 31 Oct. 2019 Schiff embellished the transcript of the July phone call in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens. Author: John Wagner, Felicia Sonmez, Anchorage Daily News, "Pelosi puts no timetable on impeachment inquiry amid another day of developments," 17 Oct. 2019 With its technological rise, China has embellished the system of informants with sophisticated facial-recognition software, which Hong Kongers now fear is installed inside the city’s new smart street lamps. Mishi Saran, Quartz, "Can Hong Kong’s fighting spirit endure? An answer might lie in China’s own Communist history," 19 Sep. 2019 There are also further efforts to delve into Elsa’s supernatural background, embellishing a story arc that already felt complete. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Frozen II Is an Enchanted Quest for Sequel Money," 14 Nov. 2019 Her new line of jewelry for Fenty—a set of rings, earrings, and pendants—are created from black resin and glass and embellished in Swarovski crystals and pearls. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Rihanna's New Cameo Collection Proves the Ancient Jewelry Form Has Always Been Cool," 4 Nov. 2019 First came the updo, a nape-of-the-neck knot marked by plaits, one edging towards her forehead, another inching toward her bun, each embellished with tiny threads of metallic tinsel running through them. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Saoirse Ronan's Shimmery Gold Eye Statement Is Your New Evening Go-To," 28 Oct. 2019 The cloth was further processed and embellished in Florence before re-embarcation for sale across Europe. The Economist, "British and Italian guilds mark a centuries-old European trade," 3 Oct. 2019

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

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Embellish.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embellishing. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for embellish


How to pronounce embellish (audio)

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

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Comments on embellish

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very cautious or careful

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