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

Williams is adept at bending her sound and expressive tools to suit the material — a breathiness for a split second here, a quick ornament there. Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, "Chrystal E. Williams, a mezzo-soprano of conscience," 12 Feb. 2018 Included in her haul: family games that hadn’t been played in years, handbags past their prime, shoes, ornaments and bedding. ... Rhiannon Hoyle, WSJ, "Marie Kondo Isn’t Sparking Joy for Thrift Stores," 6 Mar. 2019 By now, many of us are familiar with each of those celestial ornaments and descriptions. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Moon will be putting on a show early Wednesday," 29 Jan. 2018 Donahue keeps his eye out for new and interesting ornaments. Robert Khederian, Town & Country, "How Newport's Gilded Age Mansions Are Decorated for Christmas," 13 Dec. 2018 Yes, the kitschy pink flamingo lawn ornament has gotten a macabre upgrade for All Hallows Eve. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Zombie Flamingos Will Scare The Flock Out Of Your Neighbors This Halloween," 20 Sep. 2018 Such an ornament made of feathers represented the height of contemporary style. Angela Serratore, Smithsonian, "Keeping Feathers Off Hats–And On Birds," 15 May 2018 She’s created a reptilian version that’s dotted with snake ornaments inspired by her love for OTT ‘80s fashion, an attention-grabbing accessory that’s likely to come slithering through your feed any day now. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Rihanna-Approved DJ Sita Abellan Launches Her Own Jewelry Line," 6 Dec. 2018 Prince George, Prince Charlotte, and Prince Louis) won't be missing out on the opportunity to bedazzle a fresh fir with ornaments and tinsel. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "How the Royal Family Decorates Buckingham Palace for Christmas," 5 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

17 Jun 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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