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

First recorded in 1640–50; ornament + -al1
Related formsor·na·men·tal·i·ty, nounor·na·men·tal·ly, adverbnon·or·na·men·tal, adjectivenon·or·na·men·tal·ly, adverbnon·or·na·men·tal·i·ty, nouno·ver·or·na·men·tal, adjectiveo·ver·or·na·men·tal·ly, adverbo·ver·or·na·men·tal·i·ty, nounpre·or·na·men·tal, adjectivesu·per·or·na·men·tal, adjectivesu·per·or·na·men·tal·ly, adverbun·or·na·men·tal, adjectiveun·or·na·men·tal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ornamental

Contemporary Examples of ornamental

Historical Examples of ornamental

  • When the window was new it must have been surmounted in the middle of the arch by an ornamental design.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • To count by miles is a useless and ornamental elegance of civilization.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • At first his father had made an ornamental draughtsman of him for personal use.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • In the case of an ornamental boat the rudder can be fixed as shown in Fig. 115.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats

    Raymond Francis Yates

  • An ornamental tree with dense foliage; often cultivated from Europe.

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 Formsornamentally, 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

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