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

Other Words from embroider

embroiderer \ im-​ˈbrȯi-​dər-​ər How to pronounce embroider (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 Each coat takes a team of two to embroider with Swarovski crystals. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 8 Nov. 2021 Dongre takes special pride in the women who intricately embroider and hand-paint her designs. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, 4 Nov. 2021 One of the most worthwhile is the Tiny Pricks Project, in which people take direct quotations from Trump and embroider them. Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 In a subsequent number, flags from the various cultures that embroider Washington Heights proudly decorate the scene as residents sing until their power is restored. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 June 2021 Ghnaim and her mother share a common interest in the ways tatreez patterns have evolved over time, especially as Palestinians have continued to embroider in the diaspora. Cecilia Nowell, Vogue, 1 June 2021 Her voice runs free to lead and counterpoint, to embroider around the notes and words, to demonstrate her power, her control, her mastery. Tom Teicholz, Forbes, 16 May 2021 There are online embroidery conventions, where participants embroider the life stories of victims of violence – an act of resistance and memory. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 May 2021 Even after the company left in the early 1970s for a skyscraper at 48th Street and the Avenue of the Americas, the name continued to embroider the Hell’s Kitchen skyline. New York Times, 26 Feb. 2021

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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Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Embroider.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embroider. Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for embroider



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, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

More from Merriam-Webster on embroider

Nglish: Translation of embroider for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of embroider for Arabic Speakers


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