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[n. awr-nuh-muh nt; v. awr-nuh-ment, -muh nt] /n. ˈɔr nə mənt; v. ˈɔr nəˌmɛnt, -mənt/
an accessory, article, or detail used to beautify the appearance of something to which it is added or of which it is a part:
architectural ornaments.
a system, category, or style of such objects or features; ornamentation:
a book on Gothic ornament.
any adornment or means of adornment.
a person or thing that adds to the credit or glory of a society, era, etc.
the act of adorning.
the state of being adorned.
mere outward display:
a speech more of ornament than of ideas.
Chiefly Ecclesiastical. any accessory, adjunct, or equipment.
Music. a tone or group of tones applied as decoration to a principal melodic tone.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with ornaments; embellish:
to ornament a musical composition.
to be an ornament to:
Several famous scientists were acquired to ornament the university.
Origin of ornament
1175-1225; < Latin ornāmentum equipment, ornament, equivalent to ornā(re) to equip + -mentum -ment; replacing Middle English ornement < Old French < Latin, as above
Related forms
ornamenter, noun
overornament, verb (used with object)
reornament, verb (used with object)
superornament, noun
superornament, verb (used with object)
1. embellishment. 3, 5. decoration. 10, 11. decorate, adorn, grace. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ornament
  • The wheelbarrow as lawn ornament doesn't have to be the gnome-driven variety.
  • Elaborate ornament surrounds the main entrance to the commons.
  • There are also miniature paintings and a single, twinkling turban ornament.
  • The oddly paired wings might be an extraordinary type of ornament for wooing females, they said.
  • When rolled behind a saddle, it provided a striking ornament.
  • With a small offset spatula, spread a thin layer of tinted icing on each ornament.
  • Some don't care about the ornaments, but others are proud of their collection and can recite which ornament came in which year.
  • In no case were the stairways intended for ornament.
  • Or you could attach them to driftwood or bark as a hanging or free-standing ornament.
  • Many of the structural and mechanical systems were left visible and function as ornament.
British Dictionary definitions for ornament


noun (ˈɔːnəmənt)
anything that enhances the appearance of a person or thing
decorations collectively: she was totally without ornament
a small decorative object
something regarded as a source of pride or beauty
(music) any of several decorations, such as the trill, mordent, etc, occurring chiefly as improvised embellishments in baroque music
verb (transitive) (ˈɔːnəˌmɛnt)
to decorate with or as if with ornaments
to serve as an ornament to
Derived Forms
ornamentation, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin ornāmentum, from ornāre to adorn
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 ornament

early 13c., "an accessory," from Old French ornement "ornament, decoration," and directly from Latin ornamentum "apparatus, equipment, trappings; embellishment, decoration, trinket," from ornare "equip, adorn" (see ornate). Meaning "decoration, embellishment" in English is attested from late 14c. (also a secondary sense in classical Latin). Figurative use from 1550s.


1720, from ornament (n.). Middle English used ournen (late 14c.) in this sense, from Old French orner, from Latin ornare. Related: Ornamented; ornamenting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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