festoon

1 of 2

noun

fes·​toon fe-ˈstün How to pronounce festoon (audio)
1
: a decorative chain or strip hanging between two points
walls decorated with festoons of flowers
2
: a carved, molded, or painted ornament representing a decorative chain
Around the mirror were carved festoons of grapevines.

festoon

2 of 2

verb

festooned; festooning; festoons

transitive verb

1
: to hang or form festoons on
2
: to shape into festoons
3

Did you know?

The noun festoon first appeared in the 1600s when it was used, as it still is today, to refer to decorative chains or strips hung between two points. (It can also refer to a carved, molded, or painted ornament representing such a chain.) After a century’s worth of festoon-adorning, the verb festoon made an entrance, and people began to festoon with their festoons—that is, they draped and adorned with them. The verb has since then acquired additional, more general senses related not only to decorating, but to something appearing on the surface of something, as in “a sweater festooned with purple unicorns.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, this celebratory-sounding and party-associated word traces back (by way of French and Italian) to Latin festa, the plural of festum, meaning “festival.”

Examples of festoon in a Sentence

Verb We festooned the halls with leaves and white lights. The balcony is festooned in ivy. His office is festooned with newspaper clippings.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
This year, handmade Ramadan decorations festoon makeshift tents shared by family members. NBC News, 16 Mar. 2024 National Geographic no longer festoons newsstands with its lemon-yellow borders. Steven Levy, WIRED, 12 Jan. 2024 The piece features festoon and fleur-de-lis patterns, and it can also be worn as a necklace. Stephanie Petit, Peoplemag, 18 Oct. 2023 In his very 21st-century way, Britell festoons earnest Romantic music with details that gleefully desecrate it, bringing viewers right into the psychological dynamics of the show’s protagonists: a hunger for power, accompanied by levels of self-loathing that vacillate between comedy and tragedy. Delia Casadei, The Conversation, 31 May 2023 When the sun sets and all the guests arrive, the party starts in earnest, with emotional speeches and tables groaning with food in the garden outside, all lit by festoons of Christmas lights hung from the trees. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Feb. 2023 The outdoor space will be complete with festoon lights and colorful papel picado. Staff Author, Travel + Leisure, 21 Feb. 2023 Only to emerge from the darkness, the key light source, a red and orange practical festoon running from the tent. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 24 Dec. 2022 Howe Antiques is a small family business and is a festoon of incredible, original naval woolen flags, displayed from the ceiling or alongside a Bucranium mirror and carved Halim pieces. Vogue, 2 June 2022
Verb
Performing before a wall festooned with hundreds of tuna tails, Mr. Amagatsu created movements that seemed to reduce himself to the figure of a boy. Alex Williams, New York Times, 15 Apr. 2024 And while the cover is fierce, the whole things also comes off kind of cute thanks to the sight of all those kics packed into a room festooned with streamers and balloons ripping it on guitars and keytars. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 25 Mar. 2024 Even the tres leches cake, festooned with seasonal fruit and marigold petals, is swoon-worthy. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2024 The backpacker hostel in their gentrifying neighborhood was made up of three connected terrace houses, leprous with pink paint and festooned with Tibetan prayer flags. Fiona McFarlane, The New Yorker, 4 Mar. 2024 Ammar Sidr, 47, works with the one of the youth groups that normally festoons the entrance to al-Aqsa with 60 Ramadan lamps and thousands of yards of electric lights. Sufian Taha, Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2024 Miles below Big Cypress National Preserve, land of elegant cypress trees festooned with air plants, there is oil. Alex Harris, Miami Herald, 24 Jan. 2024 This year, the holiday honchos in charge of festooning Rockefeller Center have done things a little differently. Andy Kravis, The New Yorker, 18 Dec. 2023 This means these hallowed halls of purple are festooned with games from BetSoft, Rival Gaming, Arrow’s Edge, Yggdrasil, Dragon Gaming, and Nucleus. Sponsored Content, The Mercury News, 1 Feb. 2024

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

French feston, from Italian festone, from festa festival, from Latin — more at feast

First Known Use

Noun

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of festoon was in 1610

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Dictionary Entries Near festoon

Cite this Entry

“Festoon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/festoon. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

festoon

1 of 2 noun
fes·​toon fes-ˈtün How to pronounce festoon (audio)
: a decorative chain or strip hanging between two points

festoon

2 of 2 verb
: to hang or form festoons on

More from Merriam-Webster on festoon

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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