- covered or highlighted with gold or something of a golden color.
- having a pleasing or showy appearance that conceals something of little worth.
verb (used with object), gild·ed or gilt, gild·ing.
- 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.
verb gilds, gilding, gilded or gilt (ɡɪlt) (tr)
- to cover with or as if with gold
- gild the lily
- to adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful
- to praise someone inordinately
- to give a falsely attractive or valuable appearance to
- archaic to smear with blood
- a variant spelling of guild (def. 2)
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.