ornament

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

Definition of ornament

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic : a useful accessory
2a : something that lends grace or beauty
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

ornament

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for ornament

Verb

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Attempts to remedy this misapprehension — that America is its coasts, and nothing else besides — usually involve the highlighting of the country’s most famous ornaments. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, "Why Shoot Prairie Dogs?," 11 July 2019 Designing the flamingo was his second assignment at Union Products, a manufacturer of plastic lawn ornaments. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: The Internet Is Obsessed with These Photos of the Man Who Invented the Plastic Flamingo—and We Are Too," 9 July 2019 Donald passed away back in 2015, but his legacy lives on—in the form of the beloved lawn ornament, of course. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Twitter is Going Crazy Over Photos of The Iconic Man Who Invented The Plastic Pink Lawn Flamingo," 3 July 2019 Buying Christmas ornaments there was a holiday tradition for many families. Sophia Kunthara, SFChronicle.com, "Famed SF retail store Gump’s is coming back. It may just not be in San Francisco.," 29 June 2019 Americans would feel the pinch on everything from mobile phones and laptops to apparel, fireworks and Christmas ornaments. Rachel Layne, CBS News, "Trade warriors: What to watch for as Trump and Xi meet at G20," 27 June 2019 In the white tents outside were such arts and crafts as Cajun wreaths and ornaments made of crawfish shells. cleveland.com, "Cruising the Mississippi River: New ships, insightful port excursions update a nostalgic float," 23 June 2019 Alberto has his records, his stereo, and obsessively controls background music and ambient lighting; Micòl fills her bedroom with scores of làttimi, tiny Venetian glass ornaments. Tim Parks, Harper's magazine, "Behind the High Walls," 10 Feb. 2019 The tree was decorated in blue lights and silver ornaments with green ribbons. Douglas Belkin, WSJ, "Wisconsin Girl Escapes Captor 88 Days After Her Abduction and the Killing of Her Parents," 11 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Three booths, ornamented with relics from the festival’s 53-year history, will greet visitors walking onto the grounds. Faith E. Pinho, latimes.com, "It takes a village: Laguna’s Sawdust Art Festival readies for opening," 25 June 2019 At the back of the chamber the bodies of nine women lay, all richly ornamented, with their heads resting against the wall. National Geographic, "The royal tombs of Ur revealed Mesopotamia's golden splendor," 22 May 2019 Fanciful bows ornamented several styles at Rodarte’s recent fashion show in Los Angeles; one such knot was fashioned into a giant blue clutch. Elizabeth Holmes, WSJ, "Can a Grown Woman Wear a Hair Bow?," 13 Feb. 2019 Indeed, what was once a stark-white corner storefront is now ornamented with boxwood topiaries and a zig-zag pattern—borrowed from the regimental tie of the Royal Artillery—covers the exterior awnings and the interior floors and walls. Zachary Weiss, Vogue, "At the New Rowing Blazers Flagship, a Champagne-Fueled House Party Raged," 3 May 2019 Stylized fists ornament her book’s cover, sprouting like invasive weeds in front of a darkened U.S. Capitol. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: The Young Person’s Guide to Grievance," 30 Aug. 2018 The book, on loan from a private collection, is lettered and ornamented by Morris with miniatures by Burne-Jones. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "In London, Medieval Legends Through Modern Eyes," 19 Oct. 2018 Wiry and muscular, he was invariably dressed in a buckskin suit, fringed at the edges, with a deerskin cap ornamented with a fox tail. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "The original Grizzly Adams kept his bears on a chain in SF," 7 July 2018 Designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are known for creating wearable art: gowns ornamented with picture frames, massive hats of straw, and one collection made entirely from leftover fabric. Aubri Juhasz, The Cut, "The Designers Known for Clothes That Look Like Art," 28 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of ornament

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1650, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ornament

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ornament

Statistics for ornament

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ornament

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ornament

ornament

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ornament

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small, fancy object that is put on something else to make it more attractive
formal : a way to make something look more attractive and less plain

ornament

verb

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

formal : to make (something) more attractive by adding small objects to it

ornament

noun
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

ornament

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

Kids Definition of ornament (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ornament

What made you want to look up ornament? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!