gild the lily

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A common misquotation of a line from William Shakespeare's play King John.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈɡɪld ðə ˈlɪli/
  • (file)
  • (file)

Verb[edit]

gild the lily (third-person singular simple present gilds the lily, present participle gilding the lily, simple past and past participle gilded the lily)

  1. (idiomatic) To embellish or improve something unnecessarily.
    Synonyms: go overboard, over-egg the pudding
  2. To add superfluous attributes to something.

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ William Shakespeare (1595), “act IV, scene 2”, in The Life and Death of King John[1]:
    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.