• synonyms


  1. the application of gilt.
  2. the gold leaf or other material with which something is gilded.
  3. the golden surface produced by the application of gilt.
  4. something used to create a deceptively pleasing, impressive, or alluring aspect or character.
Show More

Origin of gilding

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at gild1, -ing1


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.
Show More
  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.
Show More

Origin of gild

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 for gilding

bedeck, adorn, plate, varnish, whitewash, paint, deck, enrich, ornament, brighten, wash, beautify, coat, enhance, overlay, garnish, glitter, grace, embroider, tinsel

Examples from the Web for gilding

Historical Examples of gilding

  • We rake the grass, and then, gilding refined gold, we sweep it.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Previous to this, the light dust should be blown from the gilding, and a feather or a clean brush lightly passed over it.

  • But a dab of varnish, a touch of gilding here and there, was all that was necessary.


    Joseph Conrad

  • The palisades were of iron, though the tops were tipped with gilding, and they were very high.

    Rollo in Paris

    Jacob Abbott

  • He supported many monks, he gave largely to the gilding of the pagoda.

British Dictionary definitions for gilding


  1. the act or art of applying gilt to a surface
  2. the surface so produced
  3. another word for gilt 1 (def. 2)
Show More


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
Show More
Derived Formsgilder, noun

Word Origin for gild

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


  1. a variant spelling of guild (def. 2)
Show More
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 gilding


"action of gilding," mid-15c.; "golden surface produced by gilding," 1630s; verbal noun from gild (v.).

Show More



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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper