Definition of ornament in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈôrnəmənt/
1A thing used to make something look more attractive but usually having no practical purpose, especially a small object such as a figurine.
Example sentences
  • The last bed had stuffed animals on it and the desk was covered with little ornaments.
  • There was a lovely black fireplace and a tall bookshelf filled with books and small ornaments.
  • A fireplace was against one of the walls, its mantle also covered in little brass ornaments.
knickknack, trinket, bauble, bibelot, gewgaw, gimcrack, furbelow
informal whatnot, doodad, tchotchke
1.1A quality or person adding grace, beauty, or honor to something: the design would be a great ornament to the metropolis
More example sentences
  • Love or hate him, he has been an ornament to the game as a bowler and has added considerable flavour too.
  • As a person, no less than as a thinker, Ramsey was an ornament to Cambridge.
  • A woman and one who ought to have been in as much as the means were assuredly in the power of her family-an ornament to her sex and station.
1.2Decoration added to embellish something, especially a building: it served more for ornament than for protection
More example sentences
  • An integral part of the decorative scheme of the dishes was the now erased heraldic ornament.
  • The relationship between Gothic ornament and literature can be quite striking.
  • Banished under Modernism, it has something to do with decoration and ornament.
decoration, adornment, embellishment, ornamentation, trimming, accessories
1.3 (ornaments) Music Embellishments and decorations, such as trills or grace notes, added to a melody.
Example sentences
  • Extracting the ornaments from the musical texture will greatly assist students in the polishing process.
  • Hasse begins with a simple melody which is varied and embellished with intricate ornaments that make it memorable.
  • Purcell's first seven pieces introduce various fingering combinations, simple ornaments and key signatures.
1.4 (usually ornaments) Christian Church The accessories of worship, such as the altar, chalice, and sacred vessels.
Example sentences
  • Kino also used the rich vestments and ornaments of religious ceremonies to attract the native peoples.
  • Many parish churches were extravagantly rebuilt, and lavished with vessels and ornaments which foreign visitors thought worthy of a cathedral.
  • In addition to painting and sculpture, the collections include displays of silver, ecclesiastical ornaments and vestments, furniture, and altars.


Pronunciation: /ˈôrnəˌment/
[with object]
Make (something) look more attractive by adding decorative items: the men and women in the Stone Age ornamented their caves
More example sentences
  • Many other gowns were ornamented with a lot of beads without giving an Art Deco impression.
  • He wished them to come to his gardens and study the beautiful Greek statues which ornamented them.
  • She herself chose a smart business suit while ornamenting my father in a silly sweater and beige khakis.
decorate, adorn, embellish, trim, bedeck, deck (out), festoon
literary bedizen


Middle English (also in the sense 'accessory'): from Old French ournement, from Latin ornamentum 'equipment, ornament', from ornare 'adorn'. The verb dates from the early 18th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: or·na·ment

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