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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Big cars are this brand’s wheelhouse, but the Cullinan’s weighty fortitude had to be a dream assignment for its engineers, designers and marketers: Build a superluxury SUV worthy of the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV: a royal rite of passage," 2 Aug. 2019 Demand for ivory primarily stems from China and Vietnam, where the product is turned into jewelry and ornaments. Fox News, "Tanzanian rhino population soars ‘by 1,000%’ after poaching crackdown, imports," 13 July 2019 In the Marble Hall, there are three large fir trees decked out in crown and carriage ornaments, as well as ornate garlands. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Inside the Queen’s Annual Christmas Lunch at Buckingham Palace," 19 Dec. 2018 The show will feature terracotta figures of warriors, arms and armor, ritual bronze vessels, works in gold and silver, jade ornaments, precious jewelry and ceramics. Carol Motsinger, Cincinnati.com, "Forbes.com writers are looking through our calendars. And like what they see.," 23 Mar. 2018 Other items of interest, currently at the museum, include the Collectors Corner, Picture Gallery and gift shop that features handmade wooden toys, sock monkeys, ornaments, throws, and more. Gabrielle Copeland Schoeffield, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "West Carroll: Taneytown History Museum to celebrate 15th birthday, display toy soldier flag," 24 July 2019 There’s such beauty in these objects, combining utility and ornament: sound as fury, sound as finery. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "Guitars, stars, and attitude," 11 July 2019 Many holiday traditions start without much planning, such as special ornaments hung in the same spot on the tree every year, cookies that are only made at Christmastime or watching a holiday movie with family and friends. J.a. Berger, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "25 holiday movies to enjoy this season with (and without) the kids," 8 Dec. 2017 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her voice was silvery and melodic, each word ornamented with midwestern texture. Clint Smith, The New Republic, "The Sound and Silence of Toni Morrison," 6 Aug. 2019 It is ornamented with decorative elements the Nabateans borrowed from their Greek, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian trading partners—images of Castor and Pollux, for example, just beside an Assyrian stepped crenellation. Andrew Solomon, Condé Nast Traveler, "Traveling Through Jordan’s Historic Ruins, Red Dunes, and Dead Sea," 24 July 2019 Nighttime drives ornamented by fireflies twinkling in the darkness. Freep.com, "This top cop ripped apart a Michigan town," 17 July 2019 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

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.

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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

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Statistics for ornament

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ornament

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

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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)

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Comments on ornament

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