- any of various aquatic plants of the genus Nymphaea, species of which have large, disklike, floating leaves and showy flowers, especially N. odorata, of America, or N. alba, of Europe.Compare water lily family.
- any related plant of the genus Nuphar.
- a plant of the water lily family.
- the flower of any such plant.
Origin of water lily
First recorded in 1540–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for water lily
"I shall be contented on the waters of the pond," said the water-lily.The Book of Nature Myths
I have read somewhere that it delights in eating the nymphœa, or water-lily.The Natural History of Selborne, Vol. 1
You do look white,—white, delicate, and sweet as a water-lily.Ernest Linwood
Caroline Lee Hentz
What in the name of all that's holy has he got to do with water-lily leaves?Gossamer
George A. Birmingham
Her face was held down and showed no more color than a water-lily.The Thing from the Lake
Eleanor M. Ingram
- any of various aquatic plants of the genus Nymphaea and related genera, of temperate and tropical regions, having large leaves and showy flowers that float on the surface of the water: family Nymphaeaceae
- any of various similar and related plants, such as the yellow water lily