dec·​o·​rate | \ ˈde-kə-ˌrāt How to pronounce decorate (audio) \
decorated; decorating

Definition of decorate

transitive verb

1 : to add honor to decorated commerce with the splendid virtues of honor and loyalty— Geoffrey Household
2 : to furnish with something ornamental decorate a room with artwork decorating the Christmas tree
3 : to award a mark of honor to a soldier decorated for valor highly decorated war veterans

intransitive verb

: to furnish something with ornamentation decorating for the party

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Choose the Right Synonym for decorate

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 decorate in a Sentence

I always enjoy decorating the Christmas tree. I decorated my apartment in dark colors.
Recent Examples on the Web Make Super Bowl Sunday an excuse to decorate your living room. New York Times, 30 Jan. 2021 Many resist the urge to decorate until after Thanksgiving — and expect everyone else to follow the same rule. Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2020 Participants will pick up their lanterns at The Nest Coffee House, 162A Main St., decorate them at home and drop their finished lanterns off safely at Plattwood Park on Sept. 25th from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., 10 Sep. 2021 Described as a social game, players create virtual rooms and decorate them with furniture, hang out and play games together. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2021 Learn how to decorate with wallpaper murals to fill your walls with statement-making art. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 26 Aug. 2021 Want to decorate your home with some collectible Grateful Dead posters? Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 23 June 2021 On that day, Major Gen. John Logan, head of the organization of Union Veterans – the Grand Army of the Republic – established Decoration Day as a time to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Leada Gore |, al, 31 May 2021 Kids who want to decorate their bikes or scooters to participate in the parade should report to the corner of Trowbridge Trail and Main Street by 9:30 a.m. Sahi Padmanabhan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decorate.' 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 decorate

1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for decorate

Latin decoratus, past participle of decorare, from decor-, decus ornament, honor — more at decent

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Time Traveler for decorate

Time Traveler

The first known use of decorate was in 1530

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Statistics for decorate

Last Updated

4 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Decorate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for decorate



English Language Learners Definition of decorate

: to make (something) more attractive usually by putting something on it
: to give a medal or award to (someone, such as a soldier)


dec·​o·​rate | \ ˈde-kə-ˌrāt How to pronounce decorate (audio) \
decorated; decorating

Kids Definition of decorate

1 : to make more attractive by adding beautiful or festive things We decorated the room with flowers.
2 : to award a badge of honor to The soldier was decorated for bravery.

More from Merriam-Webster on decorate

Nglish: Translation of decorate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of decorate for Arabic Speakers


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