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[dek-uh-reyt] /ˈdɛk əˌreɪt/
verb (used with object), decorated, decorating.
to furnish or adorn with something ornamental or becoming; embellish:
to decorate walls with murals.
to plan and execute the design, furnishings, and ornamentation of the interior of (a house, office, apartment, etc.), especially by selecting colors, fabrics, and style of furniture, by making minor structural changes, etc.:
Their house is decorated in French Provincial style.
to confer distinction upon by a badge, a medal of honor, etc.:
to decorate a soldier for valor.
Origin of decorate
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English (adj.) < Latin decorātus (past participle of decorāre), equivalent to decor- (stem of decus) an ornament, splendor, honor (see decent) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
overdecorate, verb, overdecorated, overdecorating.
redecorate, verb, redecorated, redecorating.
undecorate, verb (used with object), undecorated, undecorating.
1. ornament, bedeck, trim, garnish, festoon. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for decorate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To-day it pleased her to decorate the table with Virginia creeper.

    The Dangerous Age Karin Michalis
  • The work of my hands is visible; with it I am going to decorate your table.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • Dress me beautifully, decorate me that I may find favour with Ahmed.

    Six Women Victoria Cross
  • But those antlers—I promised to decorate my room with those, Max!

  • Cover with the paste, and finish off and decorate like a beef-steak pie.

    The Skilful Cook Mary Harrison
British Dictionary definitions for decorate


(transitive) to make more attractive by adding ornament, colour, etc
to paint or wallpaper (a room, house, etc)
(transitive) to confer a mark of distinction, esp a military medal, upon
(transitive) to evaporate a metal film onto (a crystal) in order to display dislocations in structure
Word Origin
C16: from Latin decorāre, from decus adornment; see decent
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 decorate

early 15c., from Latin decoratus, past participle of decorare "to decorate, adorn, embellish, beautify," from decus (genitive decoris) "an ornament," from PIE root *dek- "to receive, be suitable" (see decent). Related: Decorated; decorating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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