8 Wintry Words to Defrost Your Vocabulary


[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.
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. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for ornaments
  • Evidence and logic are only only ornaments to these ideologues.
  • But these were scattered ornaments in a speech that lacked his previous vision and resolve.
  • Singers and players imaginatively elaborated their parts, adding ornaments and runs during the repeats.
  • See what's on the other ornaments at the bottom of this page.
  • The clues can't be seen in the gross anatomy of skeletons or flashy ornaments, but in the structure of dinosaur bones.
  • Participants will have their own chance to create memorable ornaments with materials provided by the museum.
  • Much remains unknown about the evolution and social significance of fantastic ornaments in dinosaurs.
  • Wood is lashed together with rawhide and covered with colored leather and metal ornaments.
  • All over town, it's sold in decorative molded forms, both for ornaments and for eating.
  • Rai's home is immense and gaudy, replete with gold ornaments and crystal chandeliers.
British Dictionary definitions for ornaments


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for ornaments



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
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for ornaments


in architecture, any element added to an otherwise merely structural form, usually for purposes of decoration or embellishment. Three basic and fairly distinct categories of ornament in architecture may be recognized: mimetic, or imitative, ornament, the forms of which have certain definite meanings or symbolic significance; applied ornament, intended to add beauty to a structure but extrinsic to it; and organic ornament, inherent in the building's function or materials

Learn more about ornament with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for ornament

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for ornaments

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with ornaments

Nearby words for ornaments