from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make beautiful, as by ornamentation; decorate.
  • transitive v. To add ornamental or fictitious details to: a fanciful account that embellishes the true story.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make more beautiful and attractive; to decorate.
  • v. To make something sound or look better or more acceptable than it is in reality, to distort.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make beautiful or elegant by ornaments; to decorate; to adorn.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To set off with ornamentation; make beautiful, pleasing, or attractive to the eye or the mind; adorn; decorate; deck: as, to embellish the person with rich apparel; to embellish a garden with shrubs and flowers; a style embellished by metaphors; a book embellished by engravings.
  • Synonyms Ornament, Decorate, etc. (see adorn). See list under decorate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make more attractive by adding ornament, colour, etc.
  • v. add details to
  • v. make more beautiful
  • v. be beautiful to look at


Middle English embelishen, from Old French embellir, embelliss- : en-, causative pref.; see en-1 + bel, beautiful (from Latin bellus; see deu-2 in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French embellir. (Wiktionary)



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