AskDefine | Define embellishment

Dictionary Definition



1 elaboration of an interpretation by the use of decorative (sometimes fictitious) detail; "the mystery has been heightened by many embellishments in subsequent retellings" [syn: embroidery]
2 a superfluous ornament
3 the act of adding extraneous decorations to something [syn: ornamentation]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ɪmˈbɛlɪʃmənt/, /Im"bElISm@nt/


  1. An unnecessarily added touch, an ornamental addition, a flourish.
    1811 ''Reflection had given calmness to her judgment, and sobered her own opinion of Willoughby's deserts; -- she wished, therefore, to declare only the simple truth, and lay open such facts as were really due to his character, without any embellishment of tenderness to lead the fancy astray. Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility'', Section 3, Chapter 1.

Extensive Definition

An Embellishment is anything that enhances the appearance of something without having any functional purpose. A good example of this would be racing stripes (aka go-faster stripes) on a car.
In sewing and crafts, an embellishment is anything that adds design interest to the piece.

Common examples of embellishment in sewing and crafts

Items that normally serve a function are also used as embellishment. For example
  • buttons can be placed nowhere on the piece
  • zippers can be unzipped and be used as piping, or simply stiched on
  • buckles can be placed anywhere on the piece
  • grommets can be placed anywhere even when there is no cord is looped through them
  • sequins can be placed anywhere

See also

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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