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See more synonyms for gilded on Thesaurus.com
  1. covered or highlighted with gold or something of a golden color.
  2. having a pleasing or showy appearance that conceals something of little worth.
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Origin of gilded

before 1000; gild1 + -ed2; replacing Middle English gild, Old English gegyld
Related formsnon·gild·ed, adjectiveun·gild·ed, adjective
Can be confusedgilded golden


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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  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 gild1

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

Related Words

luxurious, ornate, festooned, aureate, gaudy, meretricious, prosperous, tawdry

Examples from the Web for gilded

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There were other and still other banners, in velvet or in satin, balanced at the end of gilded batons.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • These were the little familiar deeds which gilded his name among the people.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • The trap was not gilded, and he was very uncomfortable in it.

  • It is like the gilded poison that undermines the human frame.


    William Godwin

  • But all in vain—she had to go back and sit on her gilded couch.

    Cleo The Magnificent

    Louis Zangwill

British Dictionary definitions for gilded


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

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


  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 gilded


1560s (late Old English had gegylde); in modern use the more dignified past participle of gild (q.v.). Shakespeare's lilies were never gilded; the quote ("King John," iv.2) is, "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily."

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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