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[lahy-luh k, -lahk, -lak] /ˈlaɪ lək, -lɑk, -læk/
any of various shrubs belonging to the genus Syringa, of the olive family, as S. vulgaris, having large clusters of fragrant purple or white flowers: the state flower of New Hampshire.
pale reddish purple.
having the color lilac.
Origin of lilac
1615-25; < Spanish < Arabic līlak < Persian, assimilated variant of nīlak bluish, equivalent to nīl blue, indigo (< Sanskrit nīla) + -ak suffix of appurtenance Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lilac
  • It might be alluring, but a rare flower hat jelly's lilac-tipped fringe can deliver a painful sting.
  • lilac-breasted roller shows off its amazing colors in the bright sunlight.
  • Here, lilac and blush make for a comforting palette.
  • His customers hug him and hand him bundles of lilac blossoms or fresh eggs to be given to the next stop down the line.
  • Being anywhere near a manufacturer's idea of gardenia or lilac leaves me wearing that scent.
  • The swings are in the center, and the house and lilac bush are at the ends.
  • It performs best in traditional cooler lilac-growing regions.
  • The lilac is an ornamental shrub with showy, fragrant blooms in spring and early summer.
British Dictionary definitions for lilac


Also called syringa. any of various Eurasian oleaceous shrubs or small trees of the genus Syringa, esp S. vulgaris (common lilac) which has large sprays of purple or white fragrant flowers
French lilac, another name for goat's-rue (sense 1)
  1. a light or moderate purple colour, sometimes with a bluish or reddish tinge
  2. (as adjective): a lilac carpet
Word Origin
C17: via French from Spanish, from Arabic līlak, changed from Persian nīlak bluish, from nīl blue
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 lilac

1620s, from French lilac "shrub of genus Syringa with mauve flowers," from Spanish lilac, from Arabic lilak, from Persian lilak, variant of nilak "bluish," from nil "indigo" (cf. Sanskrit nilah "dark blue"), of uncertain origin. As a color name, attested from 1791; as a scent, from 1895. As an adjective, "pale pinkish-purple," from 1801. Related: Lilaceous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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