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[em-bel-ish] /ɛmˈbɛl ɪʃ/
verb (used with object)
to beautify by or as if by ornamentation; ornament; adorn.
to enhance (a statement or narrative) with fictitious additions.
Origin of embellish
1300-50; Middle English embelisshen < Anglo-French, Middle French embeliss- (stem of embelir), equivalent to em- em-1 + bel- (< Latin bellus pretty) + -iss- -ish2
Related forms
embellisher, noun
nonembellished, adjective
nonembellishing, adjective
overembellish, verb (used with object)
reembellish, verb (used with object)
unembellished, adjective
1. decorate, garnish, bedeck, embroider. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for embellished
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Convoys crowded the grand route, which traversed vast prairies waving with grain and embellished with all the works of industry.

    The Empire of Russia John S. C. Abbott
  • No parterres, no fountains, no statues, embellished this little garden.

    Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 Henry Fielding
  • The full sleeves were embellished with small slashes (making diamond squares), puffs, or pricked and punched designs.

    Dress design Talbot Hughes
  • He had a pale face at the best of times, and it was embellished with straw-coloured hair.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • The ambitious carpenter first hews out a distorted caricature of a man, which he passes over to the painters to be embellished.

    The History and Records of the Elephant Club Knight Russ Ockside and Q. K. Philander Doesticks
British Dictionary definitions for embellished


verb (transitive)
to improve or beautify by adding detail or ornament; adorn
to make (a story) more interesting by adding detail
to provide (a melody, part, etc) with ornaments See ornament (sense 5)
Derived Forms
embellisher, noun
embellishment, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French embelir, from bel beautiful, from Latin bellus
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 embellished



mid-14c., "to render beautiful," from Old French embelliss-, stem of embellir "make beautiful, ornament," from em- (see en- (1)) + bel "beautiful," from Latin bellus (see bene-). Meaning "dress up (a narration) with fictitious matter" is from mid-15c. Related: Embellished; embellishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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