em·​broi·​der im-ˈbrȯi-dər How to pronounce embroider (audio)
embroidered; embroidering im-ˈbrȯi-d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce embroider (audio)

transitive verb

: to ornament with needlework
: to form with needlework
: to elaborate on : embellish
embroider a story

intransitive verb

: to make embroidery
: to provide embellishments : elaborate
embroiderer noun

Examples of embroider in a Sentence

She embroidered tiny flowers on the baby's scarf. a scarf embroidered with tiny flowers He is known to embroider the truth about his service in the army.
Recent Examples on the Web While the entire dress was embellished with beadwork, the bust of her dress was embroidered with an especially intricate design. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 30 Nov. 2023 The dancers’ vests are embroidered with the names of Black American leaders—John Lewis, Mamie Till, Fannie Lou Hamer—stitched so small that only the people onstage can read them. Natalie Meade, The New Yorker, 13 Nov. 2023 The Spanish couturier praised one of the dresses in the collection, embroidered with lily of the valley patterns. Laird Borrelli-Persson, Vogue, 16 Nov. 2023 In a carousel of photos posted to her Instagram, Brittany held her son — who wore a mini version of dad's jersey — and hugged her daughter, who opted for overalls embroidered with her dad's number and last name. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 13 Nov. 2023 The girls’ coffins were covered in white flags emblazoned with the scout emblem and topped with wreaths; their grandmother’s was draped in black velvet embroidered with Islamic verses. Rania Abouzeid, The New Yorker, 10 Nov. 2023 From a hand-cut paper portrait to a baseball cap embroidered with a loved one’s pet, our roundup of the best customizable gifts recommended by personal shoppers and expert gift givers is sure to have the perfect thing for everyone on your shopping list. Bellamy Richardson, wsj.com, 9 Nov. 2023 This time, the Duchess of Sussex, alongside hubby Prince Harry, visited Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base in San Diego, California, wearing a royal blue Carolina Herrera cardigan embroidered with red flowers. Sam Reed, Glamour, 9 Nov. 2023 Or think of a black tulle 1938-39 dress by Madeleine Vionnet embroidered with a flock of swallows and set in a room with a video of swallows swarming in evermore frenzied circles as the sound of flapping wings fills the space and the light fades to black. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 8 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'embroider.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


alteration of Middle English embroderen, from Anglo-French embrouder, from en- + brosder, brouder to embroider, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English brord point, byrst bristle

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of embroider was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near embroider

Cite this Entry

“Embroider.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embroider. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


em·​broi·​der im-ˈbrȯid-ər How to pronounce embroider (audio)
embroidered; embroidering -(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce embroider (audio)
: to make or fill in a design with needlework
: to decorate with needlework
: to add to the interest of (as a story) with details or by exaggerating
embroiderer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on embroider

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