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 Linklater’s spark plug of a romantic thriller/comedy, which cleverly springboards off the real-life exploits of fake assassin Gary Johnson (embellishing on them, of course). Randy Myers, The Mercury News, 5 June 2024 Chef’s Table has seating for up to 24 diners, with 11-course tasting menus embellished with anecdotes about the history of each dish or signature ingredient ($180 including wine and cocktail pairings). David Swanson, Travel + Leisure, 27 May 2024 Think bags with studs along the strap or a pair of flats embellished with silver studs like this pair from Tory Burch. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 24 May 2024 The book was a gift from a family friend and was sent to MGM so it could be embellished with silk, lace and pearls to match Grace’s wedding dress, according to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Ariana Quihuiz, Peoplemag, 12 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for embellish 

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 17 Jun. 2024.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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