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

Definition of embroider

transitive verb

1a : to ornament with needlework
b : to form with needlework
2 : to elaborate on : embellish embroider a story

intransitive verb

1 : to make embroidery
2 : to provide embellishments : elaborate

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Other Words from embroider

embroiderer \ im-​ˈbrȯi-​dər-​ər How to pronounce embroiderer (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Measuring head sizes, embroidering Instagram handles on beanies, and returning correct change are just a few of the duties that demand every last iota of his concentration. Elliott G-b, The New Yorker, "Six Birthday Gifts Your Man Will Love, but Is Too Afraid to Ask for," 23 Jan. 2020 Beyond bowler hats: The Aymara, one of the largest indigenous groups in Bolivia, are tired of being seen only as performers, with women in full skirts, richly embroidered scarfs around their shoulders and tiny bowler hats perched on their heads. Acacia Johnson, National Geographic, "Why do millions of pilgrims descend on Mexico City?," 6 Jan. 2020 Also welcoming guests to the palace will be Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who wore a cream embroidered gown by Bruce Oldfield and a Boucheron tiara. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, "Kate Middleton Sparkles in Tiara For Queen Elizabeth's Magnificent Palace Party," 11 Dec. 2019 Martin and Brickell have embroidered some fine threads of feminist insight into this story set in the early and mid-20th century. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "Review: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s “Bright Star” strikes a chord at Arvada Center," 17 Sep. 2019 Her long black dress is similarly embroidered with the skulls, marigolds and butterflies. Sarah Min, CBS News, "Mattel to debut "Day of the Dead" Barbie celebrating Mexican holiday," 10 Sep. 2019 An haute-couture artist in London embroidered patterns that resemble moss and lichen on the high-back chairs and the floor-to-ceiling gold leaf drapes are meant to reflect the golden hills. Sunset Staff, Sunset, "Drink Rum, Go Raft-Camping, and 9 More Things to See & Do This Week," 22 Jan. 2018 Thirty-six haunting embroidered tapestries by Esther Nisenthal Krinitz depict how the 14-year-old girl and her younger sister escaped from the Nazis in 1949. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, "Artworks by women are in short supply at Baltimore museums. Here’s why.," 10 Dec. 2019 Sansa had two, one in gold with the Lannister lion embroidered at the back of the neck and another in spectral white with a fur collar and fish clasps influenced by her mother. Leanne Italie, Twin Cities, "Coffee table books are great gifts — even if you don’t have a coffee table," 30 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'embroider.' 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 embroider

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

History and Etymology for embroider

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

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Time Traveler for embroider

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for embroider

Last Updated

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Embroider.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embroider. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for embroider


How to pronounce embroider (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of embroider

: to sew a design on a piece of cloth
: to make (a story, the truth, etc.) more interesting by adding details that are not true or accurate


em·​broi·​der | \ im-ˈbrȯi-dər How to pronounce embroider (audio) \
embroidered; embroidering

Kids Definition of embroider

1 : to make with needlework She embroidered her initials.
2 : to decorate with needlework I'm embroidering a tablecloth.
3 : to make more interesting by exaggerating or adding details The story had been … embroidered in so many places, that nobody was quite sure what the truth was anymore.— J. K. Rowling, Goblet of Fire

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