fes·​toon | \ fe-ˈstün How to pronounce festoon (audio) \

Definition of festoon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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.


festooned; festooning; festoons

Definition of festoon (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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Did You Know?


Festoon can also be a verb that is used as a synonym of "decorate" or "adorn" (as in "the room was festooned with streamers and balloons"). The verb "festoon," which first appeared in the late 1700s, comes from the noun "festoon," which appeared over 100 years earlier. "Festoon" traces back (by way of French and Italian) to Latin festa, the plural of festum, meaning "festival." "Festa" is also an ancestor of the English noun "feast."

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Scores of people mill around on the thick crash pads, chatting, waiting their turn and offering the odd shout of encouragement to those clinging on to the colourful plastic holds that festoon a series of plywood walls. The Economist, "New Olympic sports adjust to the limelight," 31 Dec. 2019 Native hardwoods like hickory and sycamore festoon the banks of the river, which meanders through the 40-acre cattle farm tucked into the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, "Veterinary drugs are wreaking havoc on wildlife worldwide," 6 Dec. 2019 Goofy head-shop-meets-heavy-metal imagery festoons their Facebook page, and their website lists faux edgy flavors such as Alien Piss (blue raspberry lemonade) and Your Mom (sweet tangy strawberry yogurt topped with nectarine). Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, "Trump’s vaping crackdown could help Juul by ending the decade’s biggest small-business success story," 23 Sep. 2019 Flowers festoon mirrors, table legs boast dazzling jewels and brightly colored paintings line the walls. Hannah Natanson, Washington Post, "This D.C. barbershop and art gallery offers insight into the LGBTQ community alongside free haircuts," 9 Aug. 2019 But jazz, drink and festoons of Union Jacks were poor covers for the discontent coursing through the party membership in Kettering, a town in central England that voted six-to-four in favor of Britain’s leaving the European Union. Benjamin Mueller, New York Times, "The 0.3% of U.K. Voters Who Will Pick the Next Prime Minister," 6 July 2019 The three strand necklace, created from approximately 64 carats of round and emerald cut diamonds set in platinum is in the festoon style. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Charlotte Casiraghi Channels Her Grandmother Grace Kelly at Her Own Royal Wedding," 3 June 2019 Hence the magnificent gables, the plaster scrolls, escutcheons, vases, masks, garlands, festoons, cartouches, balustrades, and whatnot. Steve King, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why We Keep Going Back to Amsterdam," 24 Dec. 2018 Five minutes after beer became legal at midnight, a big truck, gay with festoons, rumbled to the service entrance of the White house, bearing two cases—a brewer’s gift to the president. sandiegouniontribune.com, "April 7 1933: New Beer's Day," 7 Apr. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Florentines have solved this problem nicely in the case of the Duomo and Campanile, both of which are festooned masterworks by Michelozzo, Luca della Robbia, and Donatello. Daniel Gelernter, National Review, "The Metropolitan Museum of Art Defaces Its Façade," 21 Sep. 2019 Guests then migrated from the theater to the atrium of the New York City Ballet, which exhibited the works of Shantell Martin—the latest artist called upon to festoon the theater with custom works. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "At the New York City Ballet’s Annual Luncheon, Canapés Were Served With a Side of Dance History," 8 Feb. 2019 Some got more than two feet long; others were festooned in curving spines that were likely used to dissuade jawed fish and other would-be predators. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Fossil 'conga lines' reveal origins of animal swarms," 17 Oct. 2019 The lighting is harsh, the band's stage is festooned in silver streamers, and the wall is covered in fading photos of regulars. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Condé Nast Traveler's Alternative Bucket List," 20 Aug. 2019 At the Chandler O’Cain Barber Shop, where the front door was festooned with pro-America signs and a Make American Great Again hat sat by the mirror, Robert Chandler, a barber, declined to speak much about the raid itself. Richard Fausset, New York Times, "ICE Raids in Mississippi Leave Fear and Uncertainty in Their Wake," 8 Aug. 2019 Every neighborhood was festooned with Chinese flags in the lead-up to Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, marked with an extravagant military parade. Los Angeles Times, "Beijing whips up NBA anger, then winds it down, disappointing Chinese nationalists," 17 Oct. 2019 Inside is the homiest little space, painted ochre and festooned in festive tinsel garlands, the windows lined in bowls and baskets and other artworks. BostonGlobe.com, "selected this month by Bon Appetit for the magazine’s annual “Hot 10” list of best new restaurants in the country. There are some," 25 Sep. 2019 The glass wall behind his chair was festooned with pink doodles made by his 9-year-old daughter, and the room was cluttered with relics of his work, including a square blue robot, a drone, and a gaming computer with a high-powered graphics card. Annie Marie Musselman, Smithsonian, "Inventor Alex Kipman’s Grand Vision for How Holograms Will Change Our Lives," 19 Nov. 2019

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


1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for festoon

Noun and Verb

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

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Learn More about festoon

Time Traveler for festoon

Time Traveler

The first known use of festoon was in 1630

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Statistics for festoon

Last Updated

3 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Festoon.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/festoon. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for festoon


How to pronounce festoon (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of festoon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a long chain or strip of something (such as flowers or cloth) that is hung as a decoration



English Language Learners Definition of festoon (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cover or decorate (something) with many small objects, pieces of paper, etc.


fes·​toon | \ fe-ˈstün How to pronounce festoon (audio) \

Kids Definition of festoon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a chain or strip hanging between two points as decoration


festooned; festooning

Kids Definition of festoon (Entry 2 of 2)

: to hang or form festoons or other decorations on

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More from Merriam-Webster on festoon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for festoon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with festoon

Spanish Central: Translation of festoon

Nglish: Translation of festoon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about festoon

Comments on festoon

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out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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