[lahy-luh k, -lahk, -lak]
See more synonyms for lilac on
  1. any of various shrubs belonging to the genus Syringa, of the olive family, as S. vulgaris, having large clusters of fragrant purple or white flowers: the state flower of New Hampshire.
  2. pale reddish purple.
  1. having the color lilac.

Origin of lilac

1615–25; < Spanish < Arabic līlak < Persian, assimilated variant of nīlak bluish, equivalent to nīl blue, indigo (< Sanskrit nīla) + -ak suffix of appurtenance Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lilac

Contemporary Examples of lilac

Historical Examples of lilac

  • Katy had been cook in the Strong family ever since they had moved to Lilac Valley.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • Linda entered the street car for her daily ride to Lilac Valley.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • Something had happened in Lilac Valley that had changed his perspective.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • Aunt Rosine had put a spray of lilac in her bonnet, "to enliven her mourning," as she said.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • It was doubtless the face of Marie, examining the buds on her lilac bushes.

British Dictionary definitions for lilac


  1. Also called: syringa any of various Eurasian oleaceous shrubs or small trees of the genus Syringa, esp S. vulgaris (common lilac) which has large sprays of purple or white fragrant flowers
  2. French lilac another name for goat's-rue (def. 1)
    1. a light or moderate purple colour, sometimes with a bluish or reddish tinge
    2. (as adjective)a lilac carpet

Word Origin for lilac

C17: via French from Spanish, from Arabic līlak, changed from Persian nīlak bluish, from nīl blue
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 lilac

1620s, from French lilac "shrub of genus Syringa with mauve flowers," from Spanish lilac, from Arabic lilak, from Persian lilak, variant of nilak "bluish," from nil "indigo" (cf. Sanskrit nilah "dark blue"), of uncertain origin. As a color name, attested from 1791; as a scent, from 1895. As an adjective, "pale pinkish-purple," from 1801. Related: Lilaceous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper