[flur-dl-ee, -ees, floor-; French flœr-duh-lees]
noun, plural fleurs-de-lis [flur-dl-eez, floor-; French flœr-duh-lees] .
a heraldic device somewhat resembling three petals or floral segments of an iris tied by an encircling band.
the heraldic bearing of the royal family of France.
the iris flower or plant.
Also, fleur-de-lys (for defs 1, 2).

1300–50; < French; replacing Middle English flourdelis < Anglo-French flour de lis, literally, lily flower

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World English Dictionary
fleur-de-lys or fleur-de-lis (ˌflɜːdəˈliː)
n , pl fleurs-de-lys, fleurs-de-lis
1.  heraldry a charge representing a lily with three distinct petals
2.  another name for iris
[C19: from Old French flor de lis, literally: lily flower]
fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lis (ˌflɜːdəˈliː, ˌflɜːdəˈliːz)
[C19: from Old French flor de lis, literally: lily flower]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

also fleur de lis, mid-14c., from O.Fr., lit. "flower of the lily," especially borne as a heraldic device on the royal arms of France. Perhaps originally representing an iris, or the head of a scepter, or a weapon of some sort.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


stylized emblem or device much used in ornamentation and, particularly, in heraldry, long associated with the French crown. One legend identifies it as the lily given at his baptism to Clovis, king of the Franks (466-511), by the Virgin Mary. The lily was said to have sprung from the tears shed by Eve as she left Eden. From antiquity it has been the symbol of purity and was readily adopted by the Roman Catholic church to associate the sanctity of Mary with events of special significance. Thus, when Pope Leo III in 800 crowned Charlemagne as emperor, he is reported to have presented him with a blue banner covered (seme) with golden fleurs-de-lis.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Arched panels over the windows, with a fleur-de-lis carved above each keystone,
  embellish the dining room.
Fleur-de-lis vase with primary standard sequence glyph band.
The segmental arched windows are topped by decorative cast-iron hoods with a
  modified fleur-de-lis motif at the center.
Each capital is ornamented with a band of fleur-de-lis and an egg-and-dart
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