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

  • transitive v. To ornament with needlework: embroider a pillow cover.
  • transitive v. To make by means of needlework: embroider a design on a bedspread.
  • transitive v. To add embellishments or fanciful details to: embroider the truth.
  • intransitive v. To make needlework.
  • intransitive v. To add embellishments or fanciful details.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To stitch a decorative design on fabric with needle and thread of various colours.
  • v. To add imaginary detail to a narrative to make it more interesting or acceptable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To ornament with needlework.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To decorate with ornamental needlework. See embroidery.
  • To work with the needle upon a ground; produce or form in needlework, as a flower, a cipher, etc.: as, to embroider silver stars on velvet.
  • Figuratively, to embellish; decorate with verbal or literary ornament; hence, to falsify or exaggerate: as, the story has been considerably embroidered.

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

  • v. decorate with needlework
  • v. add details to


Middle English embrouderen, partly from embrouden (from brouden, broiden, braided, embroidered, from Old English brogden, past participle of bregdan, to weave; see braid) and partly from Old French embroder (en-, intensive pref.; see en-1 + broder, brosder, to embroider of Germanic origin).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English embroudren, frequentative of embrouden, from Anglo-Norman embrouder, intensive of brosder, brouder (compare Guernésiais broudaïr), from Old Dutch *brosdōn, blend of *bursta ‘bristle’ and *brordōn ‘to stitch’ (compare Old High German brortōn). More at bristle and brad. (Wiktionary)



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