American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To lend beauty to: "the pale mimosas that adorned the favorite promenade” ( Ronald Firbank).
- v. To enhance or decorate with or as if with ornaments: "[He] requires the presence of titles to legitimate and adorn . . . his imperfect status” ( Cynthia Ozick).
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To beautify or decorate; increase or lend beauty or attractiveness to, as by dress or ornaments; hence, in general, to render pleasing, or more pleasing or attractive; embellish.
- To display the beauty or excellence of: as, to “adorn the doctrine of God,” Tit. ii. 10. Synonyms Adorn, Ornament, Decorate, Embellish, Beautify, Deck, Array, grace, garnish, bedeck, set off. (See
decorate.) The italicized words, except deck and array, are expressive of the attempt to add or increase beauty. Adorn has the most nobleness and spirituality; it is the least external. Garments that adorn a woman seem a part of her personality and bring out her comeliness; many virtues adorn his character; the hall was adorned with the portraits of their ancestors. In these examples, no other word in the list is high enough or near enough to take the place of adorn. Ornament and decorate express the addition of something external, which still preserves its separate character and may perhaps be easily removed. Ornament, as kindred to adorn, is nearer to its meaning; decorate expresses that which is more showy: ornamented with pictures; the bare walls were decorated for the occasion with flags and wreaths. Both express the adding of beauty to that which was deficient in it before. Embellish implies previous beauty, to which luster or brilliancy is added by something which perhaps becomes a part of the original: as, a book embellished with plates; a style embellished with figures of speech. The word is sometimes used of over-ornamentation. Beautify is the most direct in its expression of the general idea. Of the first five words, decorate is the least often used figuratively; decorated speech is speech in which the ornaments have no vital connection or harmony with the thought, so that they seem merely ornamental. Deck is to cover, and hence to cover in a way to please the eye: as, decked with flowers. Array is used especially of covering with splendid dress, the meaning being extended from persons to animals, etc.: the fields were arrayed in green.
- n. Ornament.
- Adorned; decorated.
- v. To make more beautiful and attractive; to decorate.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To deck or dress with ornaments; to embellish; to set off to advantage; to render pleasing or attractive.
- n. obsolete Adornment.
- adj. obsolete Adorned; decorated.
- v. be beautiful to look at
- v. furnish with power or authority; of kings or emperors
- v. make more attractive by adding ornament, colour, etc.
- From Middle English aournen (late Middle English adornen), from Old French aorner (Middle French adorner), from Latin adōrnāre, present active infinitive of adōrnō; from ad + ōrnō ("furnish, embellish"). See adore, ornate. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English adornen, from Old French adourner, from Latin adōrnāre : ad-, ad- + ōrnāre, to decorate; see ar- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Pietre dure," which means "hard stones" in Italian, adorn everything from small vases to giant cabinets.”
“Although her face and her name adorn its website, there is no apparent reference on the site that she and Mr Lithgow are related.”
“So, atheists that argue the point of whether jesus was the son of god or not, or whether or not the gospels were or were not written by the people who’s names they adorn is all just entertainment to fill time.”
“The dimes are just there, begging the question: Do small-denomination coins adorn the streets in socialist countries?”
“Photographs of ships bearing the pub's name adorn the walls of this street-corner pub run by Paul Hexter and wife Frankie - although it's a competition between the pub and Paul for who is most famous.”
“MacDowell said the decision to have the Lemmond name adorn what had been known as the Walsh”
“Sae's thoughts turned immediately to her beau. where the flowers of the same name adorn the gates, she began to act ever so slightly more direct towards him.”
“The report also takes issue with the way the council's eco-labels adorn fish that have undergone serious declines.”
“No subtitles adorn this release, but Closed Captioning is available.”
“I'd like to see LaGrange coach Steve Pardue's name adorn the ring of honor in the near future.”
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