[ lil-ee ]
/ ˈlɪl i /

noun, plural lil·ies.


Nearby words

  1. lilly-pilly,
  2. lilo,
  3. lilongwe,
  4. lilt,
  5. lilting,
  6. lily family,
  7. lily iron,
  8. lily of the valley,
  9. lily pad,
  10. lily-livered


    gild the lily. gild1(def 4).

Origin of lily

before 1000; Middle English, Old English lilie < Latin līlium; compare Greek leírion

Related formslil·y·like, adjective


or Lil·ly

[ lil-e ]
/ ˈlɪl ɛ /


a female given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lily

British Dictionary definitions for lily


/ (ˈlɪlɪ) /

noun plural lilies

any liliaceous perennial plant of the N temperate genus Lilium, such as the Turk's-cap lily and tiger lily, having scaly bulbs and showy typically pendulous flowers
the bulb or flower of any of these plants
any of various similar or related plants, such as the water lily, plantain lily, and day lily
Derived Formslily-like, adjective

Word Origin for lily

Old English, from Latin līlium; related to Greek leirion lily

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 lily



Old English lilie, from Latin lilia, plural of lilium "a lily," cognate with Greek leirion, both perhaps borrowed from a corrupted pronunciation of an Egyptian word. Used in Old Testament to translate Hebrew shoshanna and in New Testament to translate Greek krinon. As an adjective, 1530s, "white, pure, lovely;" later "pale, colorless" (1580s).

Also from the Latin word are German lilie, French lis, Spanish lirio, Italian giglio. The lily of the valley translates Latin lilium convallium (Vulgate), a literal rendition of the Hebrew term in Song of Solomon ii:1. It apparently was applied to a particular plant (Convallaria majalis) first by 16c. German herbalists. Lily pad is from 1834, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with lily


see gild the lily.

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