gild

1
[ gild ]
/ gɪld /
|

verb (used with object), gild·ed or gilt, gild·ing.

to coat with gold, gold leaf, or a gold-colored substance.
to give a bright, pleasing, or specious aspect to.
Archaic. to make red, as with blood.

Idioms

    gild the lily, to add unnecessary ornamentation, a special feature, etc., in an attempt to improve something that is already complete, satisfactory, or ideal: After that wonderful meal, serving a fancy dessert would be gilding the lily.

Origin of gild

1
1300–50; Middle English gilden, Old English -gyldan; akin to gold

Related forms

gild·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for gild the lily (1 of 2)

gild

1
/ (ɡɪld) /

verb gilds, gilding, gilded or gilt (ɡɪlt) (tr)

to cover with or as if with gold
gild the lily
  1. to adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful
  2. to praise someone inordinately
to give a falsely attractive or valuable appearance to
archaic to smear with blood

Derived Forms

gilder, noun

Word Origin for gild

Old English gyldan, from gold gold; related to Old Norse gylla, Middle High German vergülden

British Dictionary definitions for gild the lily (2 of 2)

gild

2
/ (ɡɪld) /

noun

a variant spelling of guild (def. 2)

Derived Forms

gildsman, noun
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

Culture definitions for gild the lily

gild the lily

To adorn unnecessarily something that is already beautiful or perfect: “Morty had us all believing his tall tale until he couldn't resist gilding the lily.”


The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with gild the lily

gild the lily

Add unnecessary adornment or supposed improvement. For example, Offering three different desserts after that elaborate meal would be gilding the lily. This expression is a condensation of Shakespeare's metaphor in King John (4:2): “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily ... is wasteful and ridiculous excess.” [c. 1800]


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