Definition of ornament in English:



  • 1A thing used or serving to make something look more attractive but usually having no practical purpose, especially a small object such as a figurine.

    ‘tables covered with ornaments and books’
    • ‘The suites have many details to study - the ornaments, yellow glass windows, gauze around the king-sized bed and even the tiny exquisite handles on the closets.’
    • ‘Claiming to have Spanish-styled decorations, the eatery carefully chose its ornaments and above each table hangs a colourful and exquisite lamp.’
    • ‘The latest additions to home collection includes bowls, boxes, picture frames, tealights and window ornaments.’
    • ‘The once bare evergreen branches are now adorned with silver tinsel and glittering ornaments.’
    • ‘Necklaces, ear ornaments, head ornaments, studs and bijous are commonly worn while nose studs and anklets are no longer used.’
    • ‘His mother was a collector of curios and ornaments; the kind of thing that would now be sold at antique markets.’
    • ‘The last bed had stuffed animals on it and the desk was covered with little ornaments.’
    • ‘This is worn with a variety of necklaces, bracelets, anklets, rings, and other ornaments.’
    • ‘What to do with all the gifts, clothing, jewellery and other ornaments has long been a matter dealt with discreetly.’
    • ‘We were in there choosing ornaments for the Ornament Exchange and I have to say some of the decorations they had for sale were beautiful.’
    • ‘A fireplace was against one of the walls, its mantle also covered in little brass ornaments.’
    • ‘Mr. Robinson claimed the house was ransacked with furniture either destroyed or stolen - among these goods, a TV, coffee table, hallstand and ornaments.’
    • ‘Apart from the music there were stalls selling items from jewellery to stone ornaments for the garden, with products coming from all over the world.’
    • ‘From his ears two golden plates hung from rings made of small green stones, and around his neck were copper ornaments attached to a necklace of white beads.’
    • ‘There were no books or ornaments beside their simple beds.’
    • ‘Remove knick-knacks, tabletop ornaments, stuffed toys, books, magazines and newspapers from your bedroom and minimize dust collectors in other rooms.’
    • ‘She was planning to move into the smaller cottage next door that she also owned, where she knew she would only have space for less than half of her ornaments, books and clothes.’
    • ‘There'll also be bangles with precious and semi-precious Jaipur stones, strings of Hyderabad pearls, silver oxidized ornaments and temple jewellery sets.’
    • ‘A large evergreen tree sat haughtily in one corner as a cluster of Raleigh students adorned it with ornaments, baubles and hand-made trinkets.’
    • ‘There was a lovely black fireplace and a tall bookshelf filled with books and small ornaments.’
    knick-knack, trinket, bauble, piece of bric-a-brac, bibelot, gewgaw, gimcrack, furbelow, objet, accessory
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    1. 1.1[mass noun]Decoration added to embellish something.
      ‘Gothic buildings notable for their finely detailed ornament’
      • ‘Here designers take unbridled pleasure in old-fashioned commodities like ornament and decoration without slipping decisively into reverse gear.’
      • ‘To his mind, style is not decoration or ornament, but a fundamental decision about how we situate ourselves and our work in relation to the world around us.’
      • ‘An integral part of the decorative scheme of the dishes was the now erased heraldic ornament.’
      • ‘The rococo style is characterized by exuberant decoration and ornament frequently based on such natural motifs as shells, rocks, flowers, and leaves.’
      • ‘Le Corbusier gave a fair judgement about decoration and ornament.’
      • ‘All three show an American architecture that was still subservient to France's Beaux-Arts vocabulary of ornament.’
      • ‘Strapwork ornament, resembling cut and curled strips of leather, was all the rage when Briot was working.’
      • ‘While it may be tempting to just throw everything into boxes and worry about sorting it out next year, you'll be sorry when a precious Christmas decoration or ornament gets lost or broken.’
      • ‘This example shown in Plate XX combines central bands of Chinese style ornament with trailing neoclassical leafy vines of European origin at top and bottom.’
      • ‘Reminiscent of Gustav Klimt's ornament, it points the way to the art of the 1960s.’
      • ‘This inventive ornament, resembling leaping flames and cresting waves, is entirely abstract except for a small garland of ivy slung across the top of the mirror.’
      • ‘The furniture detailed in the small book is considered by connoisseurs to be the highest expression of baroque form and rococo ornament.’
      • ‘The staples that hold them in place also line their edges, serving as glinting ornament, while the rows of punched-out holes have a bead-like quality.’
      • ‘The artifacts Carpaccio included in his religious narratives supply his paintings with ornament and often function as meaningful elements which are designed to link the scene with its west Asian setting and story.’
      • ‘135 There is a grey area between ornament and decoration where one or other strives to compensate for poverty of form.’
      • ‘The relationship between Gothic ornament and literature can be quite striking.’
      • ‘But it seems like the lack of ornament on the exterior isn't the architects choice so much as a necessity given the budget and its inherent focus on the art over the architecture.’
      • ‘In most cases, however, the brick, carved stone, or terra-cotta ornament would survive far longer than decoration executed in wood.’
      • ‘Banished under Modernism, it has something to do with decoration and ornament.’
      • ‘Crenellated ornament occurs from the early fourteenth century onwards, as on the silver Ramsey Abbey censer of c.1325.’
      decoration, adornment, embellishment, ornamentation, trimming, accessories, frills, frippery, finery, enhancement, beautification, garnish, garnishing, garnishment, gingerbread
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    2. 1.2A quality or person adding grace, beauty, or honour to something.
      ‘sense of humour is an ornament to character’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In this case, Julius Caesar's stereotype of the wild Celtic warriors whose fierceness was an ornament to his reputation as a general.’
      • ‘‘I am not coming to the government to serve as an ornament or an expression of the beauty of the democracy in Israel,’ he said.’
      • ‘That was it - otherwise she was an ornament to him and nothing more.’
      • ‘If a man succeeds, a woman is the best ornament and symbol of his power and honour.’
      • ‘She has had a stellar career in the scientific field and if she was married to a garbage collector would be an ornament to the gubernatorial office.’
      • ‘He is also an ornament to the game on and off the field.’
      • ‘Love or hate him, he has been an ornament to the game as a bowler and has added considerable flavour too.’
      • ‘Spacious squares with regular boundaries were needed to facilitate the traffic and they were decorous and an ornament to the entire city.’
      • ‘There are several MSPs who would be an ornament to any Parliament you could mention.’
    3. 1.3Music Embellishments made to a melody.
      ‘the composer marked the vocal part with many aspirations, accents, and other ornaments’
      • ‘Extracting the ornaments from the musical texture will greatly assist students in the polishing process.’
      • ‘Purcell's first seven pieces introduce various fingering combinations, simple ornaments and key signatures.’
      • ‘Later developments included the adoption of standard signs for such frequently used ornaments as appoggiaturas, mordents, slides, trills, or turns.’
      • ‘Hasse begins with a simple melody which is varied and embellished with intricate ornaments that make it memorable.’
      • ‘Bach doesn't change ornaments within a subject.’
  • 2Christian Church
    The accessories of worship, such as the altar, chalice, and sacred vessels.

    • ‘Kino also used the rich vestments and ornaments of religious ceremonies to attract the native peoples.’
    • ‘The Parisian detachments marching to Lyons left a trail of pillaged and closed churches, and smouldering bonfires of ornaments, vestments, and holy pictures all along their route.’
    • ‘The foundation alms had been pilfered and church ornaments and vestments pawned to pay the hospital's debts.’
    • ‘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.’


  • Make (something) look more attractive by adding decorative items.

    ‘a jewel to ornament your wife's lovely throat’
    • ‘The copper plaques ornamenting the cabinet are painted with scenes taken largely from Ovid's Metamorphoses.’
    • ‘This small oratory was ornamented in an extraordinary way by Sister Lynch in the Celtic revival style.’
    • ‘If ornamenting an object is a choice which bears out the fundamental importance of ornament in socializing the visual world, it endorses Phillips' observation that ornament is a primary and universal visual language.’
    • ‘Jennens & Bettridge of Birmingham took out a patent in 1825 for ornamenting papier-mache with pearl shell.’
    • ‘Its surface was ornamented with real or imitation gold leaf, from which comes the expression ‘gilt on the gingerbread’.’
    • ‘The walls are ornamented with ornate crosses and crests, all human bone.’
    • ‘He wished them to come to his gardens and study the beautiful Greek statues which ornamented them.’
    • ‘Many other gowns were ornamented with a lot of beads without giving an Art Deco impression.’
    • ‘The costumes are richly ornamented and are made of bright colored silk or cotton with gold-embroidered designs.’
    • ‘The box had come two days after the trip to the Galleria, and Sequoia ornamented her furnishings with stuff from the mall.’
    • ‘She was barely dressed, with just a white kilt around her waist and jewelry ornamenting her voluptuous body.’
    • ‘Webster's contextual readings of Shahn's pictures of people interacting with the film stills and posters of stars ornamenting movie theater marquees and street-level advertising are especially rewarding.’
    • ‘She herself chose a smart business suit while ornamenting my father in a silly sweater and beige khakis.’
    • ‘It is specially ornamented with stonework on the ceiling and cornice.’
    • ‘The women's hair and bodies are ornamented with vines and flowers.’
    • ‘In the place of wooden clubs with broken off arrowheads and sword points put in for spikes, they wielded battle axes or big two-handed swords with iron grey blades and small skulls ornamenting the pommels.’
    • ‘The large room was ornamented with holly branches, poinsettias, wreaths, and candles.’
    • ‘They are particularly effective at lighting entryways, ornamenting the walls of formal living or dining rooms, or creating a romantic ambience in a bedroom.’
    • ‘Its citizens have already started ornamenting their respective homes with beautifully handcrafted decors of various shapes, sizes and colors.’
    • ‘Covering an area of about 1,000 square metres, it was richly ornamented with carved beams and painted ridgepoles.’
    decorate, adorn, embellish, trim, garnish, bedeck, festoon, enhance, beautify, grace, accessorize, dress up
    bedizen, furbelow
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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.