Definitions

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

  • n. The act of embellishing or the state of being embellished.
  • n. Something that embellishes; a decoration.
  • n. Music A note that embellishes a melody.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An unnecessarily added touch, an ornamental addition, a flourish.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of adorning, or the state of being adorned; adornment.
  • n. That which adds beauty or elegance; ornament; decoration.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of embellishing, or the state of being embellished.
  • n. Ornament; decoration; anything that adds beauty or elegance; that which renders anything tasteful or pleasing to the sense: as, rich dresses are embellishments, of the person; virtue is an embellishment of the mind.
  • n. Specifically In music, an ornamental addition to the essential tones of a melody, such as a trill, an appoggiatura, a turn, etc.; a grace or decoration.

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

  • n. elaboration of an interpretation by the use of decorative (sometimes fictitious) detail
  • n. a superfluous ornament
  • n. the act of adding extraneous decorations to something

Etymologies

embellish +‎ -ment (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The smoke-key embellishment is a result of some experimenting I did with etching metal.

    Kater’s Art » Blog Archive » Smoke Key Book

  • Mature enough by this time to realize that his account of his time at Business International could be described as embellishment

    UNCoRRELATED

  • Which wasn't entirely true; by one account, "Don't Mess Around With Jim" once had upwards of 30 verses, but he knew how to make his point and wasn't interested in embellishment.

    October 2006

  • He draws an analogy between brownstone architecture in New York City ("the elaborate carvings, gargoyles, and beautiful iron fences?") and how their embellishment was the work of individual craftsmen and not part of the orginal specification (do "beautiful fretwork" here).

    January 2006

  • Christianity alone receives no embellishment from the magic of Gibbon’s language; his imagination is dead to its moral dignity; it is kept down by a general zone of jealous disparagement, or neutralized by

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • Nature, not art, is the great standard of her manners; and her exterior wears no varnish, or embellishment, which is not the genuine signature of an open, undesigning, and benevolent mind.

    Sketches of the Fair Sex, in All Parts of the World

  • By throwing the weight upon eight strong piers and arches instead of four, he has probably guarded against the recurrence of a similar accident; at the same time he has given a larger space, a more agreeable form, and greater scope for embellishment, which is, however, most judiciously confined within such limits as not to interfere with sober and impressive grandeur.

    Ely Cathedral

  • Many simple, perhaps, but beautiful and refined, characteristics of the composer or performer, may pass unnoticed; but some common-place embellishment, which is considered safe, will command the expression of approbation which the trait of real genius had failed to elicit.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 54, No. 333, July 1843

  • Therefore the former is called embellishment, and as that may be a kind of extensive operation, and sufficiently various, we have selected one instance of it which we adopt for the purpose of praising illustrious men, and of vituperating the wicked ones.

    The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4

  • In so far as these or any other elements of improvement are unsuited to the conditions in which they are placed, they are undesirable; and it would be well for those having the interest of the village in charge, to adopt an early resolution to accept no gifts, and to allow no work of construction or embellishment, which is not, first of all, appropriate to the modest character of a well-regulated country village.

    Village Improvements and Farm Villages

Comments

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  • Holmes often accuses Watson of doing this when he writes up their cases.

    December 24, 2012