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[lil-ee] /ˈlɪl i/
noun, plural lilies.
any scaly-bulbed plant of the genus Lilium, having showy, funnel-shaped or bell-shaped flowers.
Compare lily family.
the flower or the bulb of such a plant.
any of various related or similar plants or their flowers, as the mariposa lily or the calla lily.
fleur-de-lis, especially as the symbol of France.
Bowling. a split in which the five, seven, and ten pins remain standing.
white as a lily:
her lily hands.
delicately fair:
a lily maiden.
pure; unsullied:
the lily truth.
pale; fragile; weak.
gild the lily. gild1 (def 4).
Origin of lily
before 1000; Middle English, Old English lilie < Latin līlium; compare Greek leírion
Related forms
lilylike, adjective


or Lilly

[lil-e] /ˈlɪl ɛ/
a female given name. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lily
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • lily lay intently listening, Violet's hand fast clasped in hers.

    Elsie's children Martha Finley
  • She broke a lily from its stem, and drew it out of the cluster at her breast.

    Lorraine Robert W. Chambers
  • "And now tell me, Pollypod," said Felix, anxious to learn something of lily and the old man.

    London's Heart B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon
  • Some of our gardens have specimens of the Solomon's seal, a kind of lily.

  • That familiarity on the stage: he reproached himself for thinking of it; it seemed to him an insult to lily.

    The Bill-Toppers Andre Castaigne
British Dictionary definitions for lily


noun (pl) lilies
any liliaceous perennial plant of the N temperate genus Lilium, such as the Turk's-cap lily and tiger lily, having scaly bulbs and showy typically pendulous flowers
the bulb or flower of any of these plants
any of various similar or related plants, such as the water lily, plantain lily, and day lily
Derived Forms
lily-like, adjective
Word Origin
Old English, from Latin līlium; related to Greek leirion lily
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

Old English lilie, from Latin lilia, plural of lilium "a lily," cognate with Greek leirion, both perhaps borrowed from a corrupted pronunciation of an Egyptian word. Used in Old Testament to translate Hebrew shoshanna and in New Testament to translate Greek krinon. As an adjective, 1530s, "white, pure, lovely;" later "pale, colorless" (1580s).

Also from the Latin word are German lilie, French lis, Spanish lirio, Italian giglio. The lily of the valley translates Latin lilium convallium (Vulgate), a literal rendition of the Hebrew term in Song of Solomon ii:1. It apparently was applied to a particular plant (Convallaria majalis) first by 16c. German herbalists. Lily pad is from 1834, American English.

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



  1. A homosexual; pansy, queer (1940s+)
  2. Something remarkable, superior, etc; lulu: I told my best joke. It's never missed, it's a lily
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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Idioms and Phrases with lily


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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