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[adjective lil-ee-hwahyt, -wahyt; noun lil-ee-hwahyt, -wahyt] /adjective ˈlɪl iˈʰwaɪt, -ˈwaɪt; noun ˈlɪl iˌʰwaɪt, -ˌwaɪt/
white as a lily:
soft lily-white skin.
pure; untouched by corruption or imperfection; above reproach:
He tries to pass himself off as some sort of lily-white saint, but he's not.
designating or pertaining to any faction, organization, or group opposing the inclusion of blacks, especially in political or social life.
a member of a lily-white organization, especially a member of a former faction of the Republican Party in the South opposed to the inclusion of blacks in the party or in political life in general.
Origin of lily-white
1275-1325; Middle English lylie-whyt
3. segregated, discriminatory, unintegrated. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lily-white
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was lily-white, whose cheeks had but now been burning so fiercely.

    Guy and Pauline Compton Mackenzie
  • And then, brother, the faces of the beaux are of such a lily-white hue!

    The Contrast Royall Tyler
  • And then your Society waved before my eyes the lily-white banner of purity, while it fed me and treated me like a dog.

    A Bed of Roses W. L. George
  • Her face, that had been lily-white, was flushed from brow to neck.

    A Little Girl in Old Salem Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • Should the people be allowed to think that he was lily-white?

    Hail to the Chief Gordon Randall Garrett
  • And he said he was sorrowing for a lily-white hound that he had lost.

    Letters on Literature Andrew Lang
  • There is a grocer's shop at every turn; and who therefore needs him who salutes us with "lily-white vinegar?"

    Knowledge is Power: Charles Knight
  • She was fair to a fault, a lily-white maid with the silkiest of flaxen tresses.

    A Popular Schoolgirl Angela Brazil
British Dictionary definitions for lily-white


of a pure white: lily-white skin
(informal) pure; irreproachable
(US, informal)
  1. discriminating against Black people: a lily-white club
  2. racially segregated
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lily-white

early 14c., from lily + white; from 1903 with reference to whites-only segregation; 1964 as "irreproachable."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for lily-white


adjective phrase

Desiring or having only Caucasian residents, workers, etc: The thugs would never think to look for him in a lily-white suburb (1903+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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