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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
  • From earrings and necklaces to lipstick and tattoos, humans across cultures decorate themselves.
  • The effort taken to bury and decorate the remains implies the infants or their families were held in high esteem, she notes.
  • But the details have been fuzzy because it's difficult to tinker with the mixture of hydrocarbons that decorate the flies.
  • Every holiday the cook, waitresses, and he would decorate and dress for the occasion.
  • Turquoise and red dyes are still visible inside grooved diamonds and polygons that decorate the cover.
  • decorate bottom of a mould with parsley and slices of hardboiled eggs.
  • Oversized paint pots and paint brushes, in fuchsia pink and lime green, decorate the set.
  • Overflowing skips and perhaps a soiled mattress or two will decorate the stairwell.
  • Medical illustrations, including those of the life of an embryo in the womb decorate the wall.
  • Little pumpkins decorate the driveway, despite the fact that the lakefront property is closed up for the winter.
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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