1. Something that decorates or adorns; an embellishment.
2. A person considered as a source of pride, honor, or credit: a singer who is an ornament to the world of opera.
3. Music A note or group of notes that embellishes a melody.
tr.v. (-mĕnt′) or·na·ment·ed, or·na·ment·ing, or·na·ments
1. To furnish with ornaments: ornamented the windows with hanging plants.
2. To be an ornament to: "The babies ornament her ankles, dangle from her pant legs" (Carolyn Chute).
[Middle English ournement, from Old French ornement, from Latin ōrnāmentum, from ōrnāre, to adorn; see ar- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.