Etymology
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decorate (v.)

1520s, "deck with something becoming or ornamental, adorn, beautify," from Latin decoratus, past participle of decorare "to decorate, adorn, embellish, beautify," from decus (genitive decoris) "an ornament; grace, dignity, honor," from PIE root *dek- "to take, accept."

Earlier was decoren (early 15c.) with past-participle adjective decorat. Meaning "confer distinction upon by means of a badge or medal of honor" is from 1816. Related: Decorated; decorating.

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decorated (adj.)

1727, "adorned, ornamented, embellished," past-participle adjective from decorate (v.). From 1816 as "invested with a badge or medal of honor."

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decorator (n.)

"one whose business is the decoration of dwellings or public edifices," 1700, agent noun in Latin form from decorate.

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*dek- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to take, accept."

It forms all or part of: condign; dainty; decent; decor; decorate; decorous; deign; dignify; dignity; diplodocus; disciple; discipline; disdain; docent; Docetism; docile; docimacy; doctor; doctrine; document; dogma; dogmatic; doxology; heterodox; indignance; indignant; indignation; indignity; orthodox; paradox; synecdoche.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit daśasyati "shows honor, is gracious," dacati "makes offerings, bestows;" Greek dokein "to appear, seem, think," dekhesthai "to accept;" Latin decere "to be fitting or suitable," docere "to teach," decus "grace, ornament."

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monogram (v.)

"decorate with a monogram," 1856, from monogram (n.). Related: Monogrammed; monogramming.

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adorn (v.)

late 14c., aournen, later adornen, "to decorate, embellish," also "be an ornament to," from Old French aorner "to order, arrange, dispose, equip; adorn," from Latin adornare "equip, provide, furnish;" also "decorate, embellish," from ad "to" (see ad-) + ornare "prepare, furnish, adorn, fit out," from stem of ordo "row, rank, series, arrangement" (see order (n.)). The -d- was reinserted by French scribes 14c. and spread to English from late 15c. Related: Adorned; adorning.

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fringe (v.)

late 15c., "decorate with a fringe or fringes," from fringe (n.). Related: Fringed; fringing.

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nail-polish (n.)

"lacquer applied to the fingernail or toenails to protect and decorate," 1881, from nail (n.) + polish (n.).

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chasing (n.)

"art of engraving designs on metallic surfaces," from chase (v.) "to decorate metal work," mid-15c., short for enchase, from Old French enchassé "enclosed, framed," from en- "in" (see in- (2)) + chasse (see chassis).

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paint (v.)

mid-13c., peinten, "represent (someone or something) in paint;" c. 1300, "decorate (something or someone) with drawings or pictures;" early 14c., "put color or stain on the surface of; coat or cover with a color or colors;" from Old French peintier "to paint," from peint, past participle of peindre "to paint," from Latin pingere "to paint, represent in a picture, stain; embroider, tattoo," from a nasalized form of PIE root *peig- "to cut, mark by incision."

The sense evolution between PIE and Latin was, presumably, "decorate with cut marks" to "decorate" to "decorate with color." Compare Sanskrit pingah "reddish," pesalah "adorned, decorated, lovely;" Old Church Slavonic pegu "variegated;" Greek poikilos "variegated;" Old High German fehjan "to adorn;" Old Church Slavonic pisati, Lithuanian piešiu, piešti "to write." Probably also representing the "cutting" branch of the family is Old English feol (see file (n.2)).

From late 14c. as "represent persons and things in pictures or drawing, portray." To paint the town (red) "go on a boisterous or disorderly spree" is by 1884; to paint (someone or something) black "represent it as wicked or evil" is from 1590s. Adjective paint-by-numbers "simple" is attested by 1970; the art-for-beginners kits themselves date to c. 1953.

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