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or·​na·​ment ˈȯr-nə-mənt How to pronounce ornament (audio)
plural ornaments
archaic : a useful accessory
: something that lends grace, beauty, or festivity
holiday ornaments
: a manner or quality that adorns
: one whose virtues or graces add luster to a place or society
: the act of adorning or being adorned
: an embellishing note not belonging to the essential harmony or melody

called also embellishment, fioritura


2 of 2


or·​na·​ment ˈȯr-nə-ˌment How to pronounce ornament (audio)
ornamented; ornamenting; ornaments

transitive verb

: to provide with ornament : embellish
Choose the Right Synonym for ornament

adorn, decorate, ornament, embellish, beautify, deck, garnish mean to enhance the appearance of something by adding something unessential.

adorn implies an enhancing by something beautiful in itself.

a diamond necklace adorned her neck

decorate suggests relieving plainness or monotony by adding beauty of color or design.

decorate a birthday cake

ornament and embellish imply the adding of something extraneous, ornament stressing the heightening or setting off of the original

a white house ornamented with green shutters

, embellish often stressing the adding of superfluous or adventitious ornament.

embellish a page with floral borders

beautify adds to embellish a suggestion of counterbalancing plainness or ugliness.

will beautify the grounds with flower beds

deck implies the addition of something that contributes to gaiety, splendor, or showiness.

a house all decked out for Christmas

garnish suggests decorating with a small final touch and is used especially in referring to the serving of food.

an entrée garnished with parsley

Examples of ornament in a Sentence

Noun She wore a hair ornament. The columns are there purely as ornament—they have no structural function. Verb flower patterns used to ornament boxes delicate crystal figurines ornament the mantel over the fireplace
Recent Examples on the Web
The star of her outfit: a Valentino trench coat speckled with gold ornaments. Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 5 Feb. 2024 Pots, troughs, stepping stones, garden ornaments can all be made of hypertufa. Kenneth Setzer, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Wild About Harry became Kingdom Keepsakes (a nod to Hallmark’s Keepsake ornaments?). David Hudnall, Kansas City Star, 26 Jan. 2024 Tricia Szasz, owner of Parkville Artisans’ Studio and Gallery, created 50 ornaments, each with a glass bead shining in its middle. By Maria Martin, Kansas City Star, 31 Jan. 2024 Inside, guests are transported back to the age of Bernhardt and Cézanne with red velvet banquettes, stained glass, frescoes, and bronze and copper ornaments in allegorical floral and feminine motifs. Vivian Song, Robb Report, 20 Jan. 2024 In November, the singer debuted her family Christmas tree on her Instagram Story, showing off a few sweet ornaments seemingly made by her sons. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 16 Jan. 2024 The good news is that Christmas trees can generally be recycled so long as they’re placed in green bins and cleared of any lights and ornaments. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 31 Dec. 2023 The festivities include nightly tree lightings at the park’s 30-foot Lego tree decked with lights and Lego ornaments. Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Dec. 2023
This beautiful image shows our magnetically hyperactive sun, ornamented with bright solar flares, arcs, and plasma streamers. Discover Magazine, 20 Oct. 2010 The all-white structures combine modernist and medieval, minimalist and ornamented. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2024 On Thursday, the Grammy-winning singer, 30, shared a carousel of photos to Instagram, including one snap that showed a Spam can ornament hanging on a wall Christmas tree made of green garland. Gabrielle Rockson, Peoplemag, 22 Dec. 2023 Each of the hotel’s 24 suites is ornamented with tile mosaics and Afghan and Tibetan artifacts. Alexandra Malmed, Vogue, 8 Nov. 2023 The firm incorporated beautiful moldings and cornices, coffered ceilings, custom furniture, textured wallpaper, and light fixtures ornamented with glass pendants that add a delicate touch. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 12 Oct. 2023 With this simple gift-box ornaments Christmas tree theme, there are plenty of presents to go around. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Oct. 2023 Yeoh decided to keep her vibe slightly more casual with skinny jeans, a gold velvet blazer (ornamented with pins of the brand's signature motifs on the lapels) and peep-toe heels with gold stitching. Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 3 Aug. 2023 Each of her fingernails was painted over with a different tie-dye design, and were all ornamented with the 3D chrome effect. Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 3 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History



Middle English, from Anglo-French urnement, ornement, from Latin ornamentum, from ornare

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1650, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ornament was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near ornament

Cite this Entry

“Ornament.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ornament. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
or·​na·​ment ˈȯr-nə-mənt How to pronounce ornament (audio)
: something that adds beauty : decoration
: addition of something that beautifies
a satin bow applied for ornament


2 of 2 verb
or·​na·​ment ˈȯr-nə-ˌment How to pronounce ornament (audio)
: to provide with ornament : adorn

More from Merriam-Webster on ornament

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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