gild the lily
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A common misquotation of a line from William Shakespeare's play King John.
- (idiomatic) To embellish or improve something unnecessarily.
- To add superfluous attributes to something.
to improve unnecessarily
to add superfluous attributes
- ^ William Shakespeare (1595) , “act IV, scene 2”, in The Life and Death of King John:
- SALISBURY. Therefore, to be possess'd with double pomp, To guard a title that was rich before, To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, to throw a perfume on the violet, to smooth the ice, or add another hue unto the rainbow, or with taper-light to seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish, is wasteful and ridiculous excess.