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[em-broi-der] /ɛmˈbrɔɪ dər/
verb (used with object)
to decorate with ornamental needlework.
to produce or form in needlework.
to adorn or embellish rhetorically, especially with ornate language or fictitious details:
He embroidered the account of the shipwreck to hold his listeners' interest.
verb (used without object)
to do embroidery.
to add embellishments; exaggerate (often followed by on or upon).
Origin of embroider
1350-1400; em-1 + broider; replacing Middle English embroderen, frequentative of embroden < Middle French embro(u)der, equivalent to em- em-1 + Old French brosder, derivative of brosd < Germanic (see brad)
Related forms
embroiderer, noun
overembroider, verb (used with object)
unembroidered, adjective
3. elaborate, exaggerate, color, fancify. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for embroidered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That day she embroidered with her usual application and composure.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • Indeed, on the morrow she seated herself at the work-frame and embroidered as she was wont to do.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • Never before had the chasubles she embroidered been so resplendent with silk and gold.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • In embroidered robes of dull gold he sat high on his golden throne.

    Buried Cities, Part 2 Jennie Hall
  • The boy went off, and the youth took a lute from an embroidered case.

British Dictionary definitions for embroidered


to do decorative needlework (upon)
to add fictitious or fanciful detail to (a story)
to add exaggerated or improbable details to (an account of an event, etc)
Derived Forms
embroiderer, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French embroder; see em-en-1, broider
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 embroidered



late 14c., from Anglo-French enbrouder, from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + broisder "embroider," from Frankish *brozdon, from Proto-Germanic *bruzdajanan. Spelling with -oi- is from c.1600, perhaps by influence of broiden, irregular alternative Middle English past participle of braid (v.). Related: Embroidered; embroidering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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