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[uh-dawrn] /əˈdɔrn/
verb (used with object)
to decorate or add beauty to, as by ornaments:
garlands of flowers adorning their hair.
to make more pleasing, attractive, impressive, etc.; enhance:
Piety adorned Abigail's character.
Origin of adorn
1325-75; Middle English adornen < Latin adōrnāre, equivalent to ad- ad- + ōrnāre to dress (see ornate); replacing late Middle English aourne < Middle French < Latin
Related forms
adorner, noun
adorningly, adverb
nonadorner, noun
nonadorning, adjective
overadorn, verb (used with object)
overadorned, adjective
preadorn, verb (used with object)
readorn, verb (used with object)
readorning, adjective
self-adorning, adjective
superadorn, verb (used with object)
unadorned, adjective
well-adorned, adjective
1. beautify; deck, bedeck; bedizen, array. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for adorn
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At last they were permitted to be beautiful once more, to smile, and to adorn themselves.

    The Usurper Judith Gautier
  • In his present mood he was inclined to adorn himself with as many of them as possible.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • The nine fine engravings which adorn the Voyage to Terra Australis are his work.

  • Because,” said they, “of the noble qualities that adorn your mind.

  • He was now collecting masterpieces of the Spanish school of painting, which were destined to adorn the saloons of the Tuileries.

    The Bible in Spain George Borrow
  • I have not one of the graceful accomplishments that adorn society.

    Davenport Dunn, Volume 1 (of 2) Charles James Lever
  • In fact, Mr. Welby was one of those brilliant persons who adorn any society amidst which they are thrown.

    Kenelm Chillingly, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • The lamps are put in long rows or in circles, to fit the places they adorn.

    The Soul of a People H. Fielding
British Dictionary definitions for adorn


verb (transitive)
to decorate: she adorned her hair with flowers
to increase the beauty, distinction, etc, of
Derived Forms
adornment, noun
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin adōrnāre, from ōrnāre to furnish, prepare
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for adorn

late 14c., "to decorate, embellish," also "be an ornament to," from Old French aorner "to order, arrange, dispose, equip; adorn," from Latin adornare "equip, provide, embellish," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + ornare "prepare, furnish, adorn, fit out," from stem of ordo "order" (see order (n.)). The -d- was reinserted by French scribes 14c., in English from late 15c. Related: Adorned; adorning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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