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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.
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 decorating
  • The historical tale kept up its ancient habits with the past, sweetening and decorating it.
  • To the untrained eye, they're not much to look at--a smattering of tiny squiggles decorating slabs of sandstone.
  • Thus exactly where this eggshell-decorating custom came from and why it disappeared remain a mystery.
  • Every year, some folks went overboard when it came to decorating their homes.
  • The increased price covers a post-puppet show cookie decorating event.
  • It took far less than it might have because the former owner had the interior decorating tastes of a serial killer.
  • How and where people take their holiday-decorating cues appears to vary by community.
  • Paints, a paintbrush and decals are also included for decorating the cars.
  • In practice, as is often the case when decorating a house, more than two coats may be needed to cover things up.
  • He might, as an experiment, spend his holiday season decorating his speeches with baubles and bangles.
British Dictionary definitions for decorating


(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 decorating



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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