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gild1

[gild] /gɪld/
verb (used with object), gilded or gilt, gilding.
1.
to coat with gold, gold leaf, or a gold-colored substance.
2.
to give a bright, pleasing, or specious aspect to.
3.
Archaic. to make red, as with blood.
Idioms
4.
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
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English gilden, Old English -gyldan; akin to gold
Related forms
gildable, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for gild the lily

gild1

/ɡɪld/
verb (transitive) gilds, gilding, gilded, gilt (ɡɪlt)
1.
to cover with or as if with gold
2.
gild the lily
  1. to adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful
  2. to praise someone inordinately
3.
to give a falsely attractive or valuable appearance to
4.
(archaic) to smear with blood
Derived Forms
gilder, noun
Word Origin
Old English gyldan, from goldgold; related to Old Norse gylla, Middle High German vergülden

gild2

/ɡɪld/
noun
1.
a variant spelling of guild (sense 2)
Derived Forms
gildsman, 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
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Word Origin and History for gild the lily

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
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gild the lily in Culture

gild the lily definition


To adorn unnecessarily something that is already beautiful or perfect: “Morty had us all believing his tall tale until he couldn't resist gilding the lily.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with gild the lily

gild the lily

Add unnecessary adornment or supposed improvement. For example, Offering three different desserts after that elaborate meal would be gilding the lily. This expression is a condensation of Shakespeare's metaphor in King John (4:2): “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily ... is wasteful and ridiculous excess.” [ c. 1800 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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