- 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.
- 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 (def. 1)
- a light or moderate purple colour, sometimes with a bluish or reddish tinge
- (as adjective)a lilac carpet
n.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.