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gild

1
[gild]
verb (used with object), gild·ed or gilt, gild·ing.
  1. to coat with gold, gold leaf, or a gold-colored substance.
  2. to give a bright, pleasing, or specious aspect to.
  3. Archaic. to make red, as with blood.
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Idioms
  1. 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.
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Origin of gild

1
1300–50; Middle English gilden, Old English -gyldan; akin to gold
Related formsgild·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for gild the lily

gild

1
verb gilds, gilding, gilded or gilt (ɡɪlt) (tr)
  1. to cover with or as if with gold
  2. gild the lily
    1. to adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful
    2. to praise someone inordinately
  3. to give a falsely attractive or valuable appearance to
  4. archaic to smear with blood
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Derived Formsgilder, noun

Word Origin for gild

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

gild

2
noun
  1. a variant spelling of guild (def. 2)
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Derived Formsgildsman, 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

Word Origin and History for gild the lily

gild

v.

Old English gyldan "to gild, to cover with a thin layer of gold," from Proto-Germanic *gulthianan (cf. Old Norse gylla "to gild," Old High German ubergulden "to cover with gold"), from *gulthan "gold" (see gold). Related: Gilded; gilding. Figuratively from 1590s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gild the lily in Culture

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.”

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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]

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