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[awr-nuh-men-tl] /ˌɔr nəˈmɛn tl/
used or grown for ornament:
ornamental plants.
providing ornament; decorative.
of or relating to ornament.
something ornamental; decoration; adornment.
a plant cultivated for decorative purposes.
Origin of ornamental
1640-50; ornament + -al1
Related forms
ornamentality, noun
ornamentally, adverb
nonornamental, adjective
nonornamentally, adverb
nonornamentality, noun
overornamental, adjective
overornamentally, adverb
overornamentality, noun
preornamental, adjective
superornamental, adjective
superornamentally, adverb
unornamental, adjective
unornamentally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ornamental
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was a governor there, my guide informed me—an ornamental personage, much respected.

    The English in the West Indies James Anthony Froude
  • When the window was new it must have been surmounted in the middle of the arch by an ornamental design.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • Papers for the walls and other ornamental things had been left to the choice of herself and her daughters.

    The Home Fredrika Bremer
  • To count by miles is a useless and ornamental elegance of civilization.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • I intend to set up a shop for ornamental carving, and I want some one to draw patterns.

    The Stillwater Tragedy Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  • An ornamental tree with dense foliage; often cultivated from Europe.

  • He is not well up in ornamental studies or in Latin, in which he is only in the fourth class.

    The Curse of Education Harold E. Gorst
  • He may be an ornamental, but he is certainly not ipso facto a useful, member of society.

    The Curse of Education Harold E. Gorst
British Dictionary definitions for ornamental


of value as an ornament; decorative
(of a plant) used to decorate houses, gardens, etc
a plant cultivated for show or decoration
Derived Forms
ornamentally, adverb
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 ornamental

1640s, partly formed in English from ornament (n.) + -al (1); partly from Latin ornamentalis, from ornamentum.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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