1 of 2


or·​na·​ment ˈȯr-nə-mənt How to pronounce ornament (audio)
plural ornaments
archaic : a useful accessory
: something that lends grace, beauty, or festivity
holiday ornaments
: a manner or quality that adorns
: one whose virtues or graces add luster to a place or society
: the act of adorning or being adorned
: an embellishing note not belonging to the essential harmony or melody

called also embellishment, fioritura


2 of 2


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

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
Past collaborations have been with Kurt Adler on holiday ornaments and with K-Swiss on shoes inspired by Thin Mints, Coconut Caramel, and Trefoils/Shortbread cookies. Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, 16 May 2024 The golden ornament, which appeared to connect to a belt around her waist, featured a bouquet of metallic flowers held by a pair of hands. Hedy Phillips, Peoplemag, 15 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for ornament 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ornament.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1650, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near ornament

Cite this Entry

“Ornament.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ornament. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
or·​na·​ment ˈȯr-nə-mənt How to pronounce ornament (audio)
: something that adds beauty : decoration
: addition of something that beautifies
a satin bow applied for ornament


2 of 2 verb
or·​na·​ment ˈȯr-nə-ˌment How to pronounce ornament (audio)
: to provide with ornament : adorn

More from Merriam-Webster on ornament

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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