or·​na·​ment | \ ˈȯr-nə-mənt How to pronounce ornament (audio) \
plural ornaments

Definition of ornament

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic : a useful accessory
2a : something that lends grace, beauty, or festivity holiday ornaments
b : a manner or quality that adorns
3 : one whose virtues or graces add luster to a place or society
4 : the act of adorning or being adorned
5 : an embellishing note not belonging to the essential harmony or melody

called also embellishment, fioritura


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

Definition of ornament (Entry 2 of 2)

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: Noun The small terra-cotta creature looks like a modernist take on an African ornament. Kriston Capps, Washington Post, 13 June 2022 Mireles would often reach out around Christmas, Garcia said, because Gabby had given her an ornament as a gift. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 25 May 2022 Mireles would often reach out around Christmas, Garcia said, because Gabby had given her an ornament as a gift. Anchorage Daily News, 25 May 2022 Water bubbles out from under the bird ornament then cascades into the lower basin, keeping the water moving and thus making the bath more attractive to birds and less so to mosquitoes. Rena Behar, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 June 2022 When Christmas rolls around, one of the best ways to honor a loved one is to hang this personalized ornament. Ysolt Usigan, Woman's Day, 24 May 2022 Standing with them are their 7-year-old twins, Prince Jacques (who holds a silver bell) and Princess Gabriella (holding a gold ornament). Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, 21 Dec. 2021 The complex’s visual smorgasbord of ornament was designed by nine sculptors and produced by the Federal Seaboard Terra Cotta Company, which also made the cladding for the McGraw-Hill Building, including its celebrated crown. New York Times, 20 May 2022 The newest version of the iconic hood ornament will sit on the nose of the brand’s first EV, the Spectre. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 7 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Then, a few weeks later, Middleton stunned in another Jane Taylor design—this time a striking white and black piece to ornament her look for Anzac Day services. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, 20 May 2022 Dancing flames cast an orange glow on the side of the boy’s face; silhouettes of bare trees ornament the distance. Clint Smith, The Atlantic, 4 Feb. 2022 The key turned out to be feathers, which have long been known to ornament many cavity-loving species’ nests. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 16 Nov. 2021 The Baroque Hôtel d’Ecquevilly, built in 1638 as a private residence for a Parisian aristocrat, was later the home of Louis XV’s master of the hunt, who commissioned the elaborate bas-reliefs of boars and dogs that still ornament its exterior. New York Times, 7 Sep. 2021 The picture that has emerged is of an aging emperor, surrounded by a harem of nubile women paid to ornament his dinner table, boost his ego, and dance around in their underpants. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2021 The second-floor master suite incorporates a bedroom with new oak floors, a bow window and a walk-in closet with mirrored doors ornamented with etched glass. Julie Lasky, New York Times, 13 May 2020 In the 1920s, Cleveland’s wealthy lined Shaker Boulevard in Shaker Heights and Fairmount Boulevard in Cleveland Heights with richly ornamented, neo-Tudor or neoclassical mansions that openly flaunt the wealth of their owners. Steven Litt, cleveland, 3 May 2020 This is the basic three-color version of the bread plate, but there was also a six-color variant and a version ornamented with opaque maiolica glazes. Catherine Bindman, The New York Review of Books, 17 Apr. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ornament.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ornament


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1650, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ornament


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

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Time Traveler for ornament

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

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ornament.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ornament. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for ornament


or·​na·​ment | \ ˈȯr-nə-mənt How to pronounce ornament (audio) \

Kids Definition of ornament

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that adds beauty : decoration a Christmas tree ornament


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

Kids Definition of ornament (Entry 2 of 2)

More from Merriam-Webster on ornament

Nglish: Translation of ornament for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ornament for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ornament


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