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I'm looking for a word (verb) meaning decorate/embellish too much — in a bad sense — and in particular having the tint of being too much so that something instead of being beautiful becomes fussy and ugly.

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8 Answers 8

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't know of any better single verbs than overdecorate, overornament or overembellish. Bedizen is good if you don't mind obscure. I might be tempted to coin baroquify. Related, possibly useful phrases include to tart [something] up and gilding the lily.

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I like "bedizen." I'm not sure when I would ever use it, but I like it. I can very easily imagine using "baroquify," but I do like making up words. :) –  kitukwfyer May 28 '11 at 0:12
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If you're going to coin go with "Rococoinate". –  dmckee May 28 '11 at 0:32
    
Thanks a lot! I very much liked the idiom gilding the lily; I found the definition here: thefreedictionary.com/gilding+the+lily (bedizen is not exactly what I was looking for). –  Pantelis Sopasakis May 28 '11 at 7:52
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Note: dictionaries list bedizen as archaic. –  Unreason Aug 10 '11 at 9:27
    
@chaos first read that as bedazzled. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jun 19 '12 at 21:52
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Adjectivally, you could describe something as "baroque" (extravagantly ornate, florid, and convoluted in character or style) or "florid" (flowery; excessively ornate; showy), or "overly extravagant".

Verbwise, I can't think of any single word that encompasses that extent of a description unless you want to go for something like "overembellished" with an additional phrase to point out how far beyond the pale it's gone: "He had overembellished it to the point that it became a grotesque parody of its potential nature", or "he had embellished it well past the point of baroque floridity."

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+1: This would be my choice. –  Robusto May 29 '11 at 16:14
    
However, do note that baroque is period and style, and as such the extravagance of some of the better works would be considered positive (at least by some; example: Trevi Fountain in Rome) –  Unreason Aug 10 '11 at 9:31
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How about gaudy?

gaud·y
–adjective, gaud·i·er, gaud·i·est.
1. brilliantly or excessively showy: gaudy plumage.
2. cheaply showy in a tasteless way; flashy.
3. ostentatiously ornamented; garish.

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I think gaudy is a fine adjective, but the asker is looking for a verb. –  John Y May 28 '11 at 14:29
    
Whoops, I missed that. Sorry. –  Elemenliation May 28 '11 at 14:56
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@John Well then gaudify, obviously. ;) –  Matthew Frederick Jun 1 '11 at 14:33
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There's actually one word to refer specifically to this. It's "kitsch":

a representation that is excessively sentimental, overdone, or vulgar

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Also recommended is to look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitsch to see if the word fits. Note: 1926, from Ger., lit. "gaudy, trash," from dial. kitschen "to smear." –  Unreason Aug 10 '11 at 9:20
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I would use the verb "overdo." What exactly has been overdone is usually pretty obvious. Saying something is really overdone usually means it's tacky or overwrought, which I think is what you're looking for.

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The word that springs to mind is: Overdecorated.

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Make gaudy... over-decorate.

Maybe bedeck

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This is really a comment, not an answer to the question. Please use "add comment" to leave feedback for the author. –  kiamlaluno Aug 14 '12 at 23:17
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Ragged or shabby means unattractive. When a more complex decoration is applied to something it becomes ugly. It doesn't look professionally made.

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