From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English embelishen, from Old French embellir, from em- + bel.


  • IPA(key): /ɪmˈbɛlɪʃ/, /ɛm-/
  • (file)


embellish (third-person singular simple present embellishes, present participle embellishing, simple past and past participle embellished)

  1. To make more beautiful and attractive by adding ornamentation; to decorate.
    The old book cover was embellished with golden letters
    • 1998, C.H. Knowles, “Henry III (1207-1272; r. 1216-72)”, in Medieval England: An Encyclopedia[1], Garland Publishing, →ISBN, →LCCN, →OCLC, page 345, column 2:
      He was a notable patron of the arts who lavishly embellished his royal residences and rebuilt and enlarged Westminster Abbey, destined as the burialplace of himself and many of his successors, in honor of his patron saint, Edward the Confessor.
  2. (by extension) To enhance by adding something not strictly integral or necessary.
    • c. 1587–1588, [Christopher Marlowe], Tamburlaine the Great. [] The First Part [], 2nd edition, part 1, London: [] [R. Robinson for] Richard Iones, [], published 1592, →OCLC; reprinted as Tamburlaine the Great (A Scolar Press Facsimile), Menston, Yorkshire, London: Scolar Press, 1973, →ISBN, Act I, scene ii:
      A Scythian Shepherd, so imbelliſhed
      With Natures pride, and richeſt furniture?
      His looks do menace heauen & dare the Gods,
      His fiery eies are fixt vpon the earth.
    • 2012 December 29, Paul Doyle, “Arsenal's Theo Walcott hits hat-trick in thrilling victory over Newcastle”, in The Guardian[2], London:
      Podolski gave Walcott a chance to further embellish Arsenal's first-half performance when he eluded James Perch and slipped the ball through to the striker.
  3. To make something sound or look better or more acceptable than it is in reality; to distort, to embroider.
    to embellish a story, the truth