[ noun awr-nuh-muhnt; verb awr-nuh-ment, -muhnt ]
See synonyms for ornament on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.

  2. a system, category, or style of such objects or features; ornamentation: a book on Gothic ornament.

  1. any adornment or means of adornment.

  2. a person or thing that adds to the credit or glory of a society, era, etc.

  3. the act of adorning.

  4. the state of being adorned.

  5. mere outward display: a speech more of ornament than of ideas.

  6. Chiefly Ecclesiastical. any accessory, adjunct, or equipment.

  7. Music. a tone or group of tones applied as decoration to a principal melodic tone.

verb (used with object)
  1. to furnish with ornaments; embellish: to ornament a musical composition.

  2. 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

Other words for ornament

Other words from ornament

  • or·na·ment·er, noun
  • o·ver·or·na·ment, verb (used with object)
  • re·or·na·ment, verb (used with object)
  • su·per·or·na·ment, noun
  • su·per·or·na·ment, verb (used with object)

Words Nearby ornament

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ornament in a sentence

  • Meantime the court receives the rents; the garden, the chief ornament of the town, is running wild, and the house is deserted.

  • The trees are sometimes prettily arranged in alleys, but are planted far less for ornament than for use.

  • She was dressed in a high-necked dress of black lace, and wore in her corsage a large circular ornament of diamonds and emeralds.

    The Doctor of Pimlico | William Le Queux
  • Three clubs, which look from without to be very comfortable, ornament this square with their gas-lamps.

    Little Travels and Roadside Sketches | William Makepeace Thackeray

British Dictionary definitions for ornament


  1. anything that enhances the appearance of a person or thing

  2. decorations collectively: she was totally without ornament

  1. a small decorative object

  2. something regarded as a source of pride or beauty

  3. music any of several decorations, such as the trill, mordent, etc, occurring chiefly as improvised embellishments in baroque music

verb(ˈɔːnəˌmɛnt) (tr)
  1. to decorate with or as if with ornaments

  2. to serve as an ornament to

Origin of ornament

C14: from Latin ornāmentum, from ornāre to adorn

Derived forms of ornament

  • ornamentation, noun

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