- (transitive) To embellish or adorn, especially in order to improve the appearance of.
1804, Christoph Martin Wieland, Confessions in Elysium: Or, The Adventures of a Platonic, page 73-74:
- Delighted with each other......we rambled....arm in arm......about the citron groves;.......and, when a mossy bank invited our repose...my charmer would weave garlands of flowers to adonise her shepherd ; ..........recline upon my arm..... and to the gentle lullaby of a murmuring stream..... sink into forgetfulness
1830, an old army surgeon, Economy of the hands and feet, fingers and toes, page 107:
- Formerly, if not exactly to the same extent at the present day, mineral substances were only made use of to adonise the complexion ; indeed, every composition is qualified with this name, whether it be white or red, which women, and even men (coxcombs), with a clear skin, subserve to embellish their faces, with a view to imitate the colours of youth, or artificially to repair the absence of them.
- (intransitive) To enhance one's own appearance.
1820, Peter Bayley, Sketches from St. George's Fields, page 122:
- Leaving a breath to swell his tradesmen's books, To adonise, to smile, and kill with looks;
1859, Mrs. Octavius Freire Owen, Raised to the Peerage: A Novel, page 158:
- Since I parted with Darnley, who went in to adonise, I believe, Cameron has been hindering me with acknowledgments and regrets.
1891, John Keats (ed Sir Sidney Colvin), Letters of John Keats to His Family and Friends, page 291:
- Whenever I find myself growing vapourish, I rouse myself, wash, and put on a clean shirt, brush my hair and clothes, tie my shoestrings neatly, and in fact adonise as I were going out.
Originally, this word was often capitalized, perhaps reflecting its origins from a proper noun (Adonis). After about 1850, however, the use of the upper case version gives way to a lower-case version.