1. the application of gilt.
  2. the gold leaf or other material with which something is gilded.
  3. the golden surface produced by the application of gilt.
  4. something used to create a deceptively pleasing, impressive, or alluring aspect or character.

verb (used with object), gild·ed or gilt, gild·ing.

  1. to coat with gold, gold leaf, or a gold-colored substance.
  2. to give a bright, pleasing, or specious aspect to.
  3. Archaic. to make red, as with blood.
  1. 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.


  1. the act or art of applying gilt to a surface
  2. the surface so produced
  3. another word for gilt 1 (def. 2)

verb gilds, gilding, gilded or gilt (ɡɪlt) (tr)

  1. to cover with or as if with gold
  2. gild the lily
    1. to adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful
    2. to praise someone inordinately
  3. to give a falsely attractive or valuable appearance to
  4. archaic to smear with blood


  1. a variant spelling of guild (def. 2)

“action of gilding,” mid-15c.; “golden surface produced by gilding,” 1630s; verbal noun from gild (v.).


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.

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