1. To adorn or furnish someone or something, particularly in an extravagant style


Whether you love or hate the idea of decorating, we've all got to do it sometimes. For many of us, Christmastime is usually the first thing that comes to mind when we think about dressing up our houses, donning trees with ornaments and wrapping garland around the railings. However, not every embellishment needs to be so festive: You can easily bedeck a plain room by painting the walls and adding some fun accent furniture to make it feel more inviting! In fact, when the occasion calls for it, you can decorate yourself - with clothes and accessories that is. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg to bedeck something, just a little time and effort, depending on how fancy you want it to look!

To bedeck means to adorn or cover someone or something, especially in an extravagant manner. Oftentimes, spaces just need a little bit of sprucing to look like new, but sometimes you need to bring in new materials to ready the room for a special occasion. Professionals, like wedding planners, who are tasked with creating fairytale settings for their clients' big days, are well versed in bedecking venues with gorgeous colors, fabrics, and decorations. Brides know that they can't show up to a decked out hall in their jeans and t-shirt; traditionally, they, too, are to be bedecked in a stunning white gown as they traverse the aisle.

Whereas similar words describe aspects of decorating, such as "to lay" or "to place," bedeck is used when you want to include many different types of activities or to emphasize the design, and sometimes expense, that was put into the beautification process. Moreover, while cleaning or tidying up might be part of bedecking, these actions themselves are usually not considered decorating. In general, there is an addition of material(s) needed to bedeck someone or something. Even people who don't have much time for niceties can take a minute or two to bedeck themselves in a sparkly bracelet or new billowy spring dress, just because!

Example: Joan bedecks her face with makeup each and every morning.

Example: We like to bedeck our backyard with brilliant red roses.


If the word bedeck reminds you of the Christmas carol, "Deck the Halls" then you already know something about its origin! Bedeck comes from the Middle Dutch word dekken, which meant to conceal or to cover something. First used as a noun, deck referred to the planks overlaying a ship; however, it soon expanded into a verb to mean to decorate or to dress something for protection or embellishment. The product of the addition of the prefix be-, meaning "entirely" or "to cause," to the word deck can be translated as "to completely furnish" or "to make adorned." This hearty word was first used in the English language around the mid-16th century.

Derivative Words

Bedecks: This present tense form of the verb is employed when singular subjects, such as he, she, or it, decorate or garnish something.

Example: The chef bedecks his chicken with scrumptious breading.

Bedecking: This present progressive form of the verb is used when a person is in the middle of adorning someone or something.

Example: Many children love bedecking themselves to look like their favorite superhero.

Bedecked: This past tense form of the verb can be used when a subject has furnished or arrayed something at a previous time.

Example: Nancy made sure she bedecked her bathroom with matching towels before her guests arrived.

In Literature

From Paula Brackston's The Winter Witch:

"Must we always bedeck ourselves in prettiness to be thought pleasing? It would appear so. A woman must look a certain way to be worthy of a man's attentions. It is expected."

Here, we see a sliver of how the world and its social conventions sometimes require us to enhance, or bedeck ourselves and the things we have to impress (or fool) others.


  • A turtleneck bedecks your neck.


Decorate, Ornaments, Christmas, Wedding

Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of bedeck. Did you use bedeck in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.