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

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.

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.


    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

1300–50; Middle English gilden, Old English -gyldan; akin to gold
Related formsgild·a·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gilding

Historical Examples of gilding

British Dictionary definitions for gilding



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



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 Formsgilder, noun

Word Origin for gild

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




a variant spelling of guild (def. 2)
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.).



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper