"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[gil-did] /ˈgɪl dɪd/
covered or highlighted with gold or something of a golden color.
having a pleasing or showy appearance that conceals something of little worth.
Origin of gilded
before 1000; gild1 + -ed2; replacing Middle English gild, Old English gegyld
Related forms
nongilded, adjective
ungilded, adjective
Can be confused
gilded, golden.


[gild] /gɪld/
verb (used with object), gilded or gilt, gilding.
to coat with gold, gold leaf, or a gold-colored substance.
to give a bright, pleasing, or specious aspect to.
Archaic. to make red, as with blood.
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.
1300-50; Middle English gilden, Old English -gyldan; akin to gold
Related forms
gildable, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gilded
  • And dreaming of a gilded future for automobiles, and those who drive them, is what these shows are about.
  • Their uniform hairstyle, usually the shape of gilded parentheses, was telling.
  • At some point, the gilded generation turns silver and retires.
  • The tomb contained a wooden coffin decorated with a copper lattice and a gilded mask, sitting on a raised platform.
  • We can not be the zoo keeper of the planet and that a bird in a gilded cage is still a bird in a cage.
  • The new monarch, clad in golden robes, was carried off in a gilded palanquin.
  • It was a time of new wealth, a gilded age in which entire families came into fortunes overnight.
  • We are living through a second gilded age with our own robber barons at the controls.
  • So, a magazine for the moneyed plans a gilded portal.
  • Behind its gilded gate is a gently lit lobby with plush sofas and a well-stocked bar.
British Dictionary definitions for gilded


verb (transitive) gilds, gilding, gilded, gilt (ɡɪlt)
to cover with or as if with gold
gild the lily
  1. to adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful
  2. to praise someone inordinately
to give a falsely attractive or valuable appearance to
(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


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 gilded

1560s (late Old English had gegylde); in modern use the more dignified past participle of gild (q.v.). Shakespeare's lilies were never gilded; the quote ("King John," iv.2) is, "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily."



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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