ornament

noun
or·​na·​ment | \ ˈȯr-nə-mənt \

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 \
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

Surrounded by stacks of fresh florals and a menagerie of hair ornaments, hairstylist Odile Gilbert used a curling iron to create loose waves before vigorously shaking them out and blasting them with dry texture spray for extreme volume. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Rodarte Brings Mesmerizing Glitter Makeup to Its L.A. Homecoming," 6 Feb. 2019 Only a few labels, such as those for a stern ornament (c. 1830-1850) and a stone tiki figure (late 19th century), include reproductions of drawings Gauguin made of similar objects. Judith H. Dobrzynski, WSJ, "‘Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey’ Review: Tracing a Painter’s Soul," 6 Jan. 2019 Getting into the holiday spirit just isn't the same if an evergreen isn't standing tall in the living room, dressed in homemade ornaments, bright lights, and adorned with a magical tree topper. Nicol Natale, Woman's Day, "Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?," 15 Nov. 2018 As the holiday season swings into full gear, what better way to indulge in some much-deserved merrymaking than with a host of Christmas crackers and ornaments bound to liven up even the steeliest of gatherings? Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "13 Bite-Size Beauty Gifts to Kick Start the Holiday Festivities," 17 Dec. 2018 Electric candles help light the way, while metallic ornaments and ribbons in neutral hues (avoid red, green or silver) placed amid the greenery are a sleek, stylish detail. ELLE Decor, "This Holiday Party Is Anything But Traditional—And We're Obsessed," 30 Nov. 2018 Covering her chest was a tumble of jewelry and ornaments—beads, leather, copper, seashells, bells, and glinting studs. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 There were cartons of ornaments that needed to be severely curated down to a handful of keepers. Al Kemp, The Seattle Times, "How I came to grips with a downsized Christmas," 12 Dec. 2018 Look for an option with a strong stand that won't tip over under the weight of ornaments, and hinged branches for easy set-up and storage. Good Housekeeping, "Which Is Better: A Real or Fake Christmas Tree?," 6 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Just inside, a Mughal style quadrant is ornamented with cascading fountains and framed by an arched passageway and gold leaf frescoes. Town & Country, "These Are the 83 Top Hotels Around the World," 6 Oct. 2016 It was built in the mid-1830s, its architecture typical of the Georgian taste for tall, skinny, terraced houses ornamented with fancy iron railings. Ruth Bloomfield, WSJ, "Inside the London Home of Mary Poppins," 23 May 2018 Businesses and city buildings were ornamented with wreaths, garlands, banners and streamers to honor Pres. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "The epic journey of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train," 30 Apr. 2018 On the album, Mr. Sosa ornaments the space around Mr. Keita’s playing with lilting undercurrents and deftly studded terrain. New York Times, "13 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in NYC This Weekend," 15 Mar. 2018 There's a certain joy emanating from the school's hallways, which are ornamented with green and orange, the school's colors. The Hechinger Report, NOLA.com, "About 40 percent of New Orleans high school students are held back at least 1 grade," 8 Jan. 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

11 Feb 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 \

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 \
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

the perfect form or example of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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!