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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.

14 Answers 14

9

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
    Commented May 28, 2011 at 0:12
  • 4
    If you're going to coin go with "Rococoinate". Commented May 28, 2011 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). Commented May 28, 2011 at 7:52
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    Note: dictionaries list bedizen as archaic.
    – Unreason
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 9:27
  • @chaos first read that as bedazzled. Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 21:52
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Adjectivally, you could describe something as baroque:

extravagantly ornate, florid, and convoluted in character or style
from dictionary.com

or florid:

flowery; excessively ornate; showy
from dictionary.com

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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  • 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
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 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
    Commented May 28, 2011 at 14:29
  • Whoops, I missed that. Sorry. Commented May 28, 2011 at 14:56
  • 3
    @John Well then gaudify, obviously. ;) Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 14:33
  • The title is "Word for 'decorated too much'," not only a verb. Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 21:31
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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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2

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
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 9:20
  • Also consider overwrought. Kitsch suggests overly cute or junky; the word sought may be just too much of a good thing.
    – Xanne
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 8:42
1

How about garish?

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

garish adj 1: tastelessly showy; "a flash car"; "a flashy ring"; "garish colors"; "a gaudy costume"; "loud sport shirts"; "a meretricious yet stylish book"; "tawdry ornaments" [syn: {brassy}, {cheap}, {flash}, {flashy}, {garish}, {gaudy}, {gimcrack}, {loud}, {meretricious}, {tacky}, {tatty}, {tawdry}, {trashy}]

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"baroquify" is a contrived verb that I first heard in computer science circles 40+ years ago.

I just ran across this post when I used the word in a gmail body and was surprised that the spellchecker didn't flag it, so I did a search.

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  • ...and, yes, it means what you want it to...
    – ENOTTY
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 20:30
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Make gaudy... over-decorate.

Maybe bedeck

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0

Rococo is another term that might apply. Although more in reference to painting, it conveys the sense of gingerbread which this question addresses.

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    This would be improved with a reference/definition for the term. Commented May 11, 2020 at 8:34
  • Is this some use of "gingerbread" with which I'm not familliar? Commented May 11, 2020 at 10:19
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    I've just gone through all the answers, downvoting all those that don't bother addressing OP's request for a verb. This is yet another. Commented May 11, 2020 at 13:08
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The word that springs to mind is: Overdecorated.

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the word you seek is ungapatchka. (it's yiddish)

Urban Dictionary:

a Yiddish word that describes the overly ornate, busy, ridiculously over-decorated, and garnished to the point of distaste.

the clothing looks ungapatchka.

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  • Welcome to EL&U. StackExchange seeks definitive answers, and yours would be greatly strengthened by explaining this word. How is it used? Is it in the dictionary? What are some examples of its use? I strongly encourage you to take the site tour and review the help center for additional guidance.
    – choster
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 20:04
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    The 'patch' part matches the English word 'patch.' Ungepatchka means made into a patchwork, pieced together poorly rather than being of a whole elegant work. Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 20:58
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well i guess you could use the word bedeck.

for example my friend john led me to his room bedecked with green marbles

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    I'm not sure that "bedeck" carries any sense of too much decoration. Commented May 11, 2020 at 8:52
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    Your answer would benefit from linked references to support that meaning of bedeck. Commented May 11, 2020 at 10:17
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Shmonzes means valueless stuff--used for objects

small pieces of valueless decorative bric-a-brac; idle talk (Yiddish origin, jel.jewish-languages).

Schmates is for raggedy clothes.

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  • This would be greatly improved with some linked authoritative definitions for these words Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 16:18
  • Hello, 4078, welcome to EL&U! You should improve this answer with referenced and linked definitions showing definitions or examples of the usage of shmonzes and shmates in an English context. I've suggested one for shmonzes (which you can still edit if you like), but I didn't find one for shmates, I'll leave it for you. Long, articulate answers are encouraged here. Cheers! (Oh, and OP asked for a verb...)
    – Conrado
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 16:21
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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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