American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To cover with or as if with a thin layer of gold.
- v. To give an often deceptively attractive or improved appearance to.
- v. Archaic To smear with blood.
- idiom. gild the lily To adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful.
- idiom. gild the lily To make superfluous additions to what is already complete.
- n. Variant of guild.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To overlay with gold, either in leaf or powder or in amalgam with quicksilver; overspread with a thin covering of gold.
- To give the appearance of gold to, whether by means of actual gold-leaf or in some other way, as by lacquering polished brass, bronzing with gold-colored bronze-powder, or the like. To distinguish real gilding with gold from the above, such terms as fire-gilding, leaf-gilding, etc., are in common use. See
- In old chemistry, to impregnate or saturate with gold.
- Figuratively To give a golden appearance or color to; illuminate; brighten; render bright; make glowing.
- To give a fair and agreeable external appearance to; recommend to favor and reception by superficial decoration: as, to gild flattery or falsehood.
- To make drunk: in allusion to the effect of liquor in causing the face to glow.
- n. An association or corporation established for the promotion of common objects, or mutual aid and protection in common pursuits, and supported (originally) by the contributions of its members. In medieval times all European mechanics and traders were organized into gilds, which possessed important legal powers and often exercised great political influence. Many of these still exist in Great Britain, especially in London, as the Stationers' or the Ironmongers' Gild. There were also gilds of professional men; and associations for pious and charitable objects bearing the name of gilds are common in some churches. See
- n. A gildhall.
- To sell.
- n. See geld.
- To electroplate by depositing a layer of gold from an electric bath.
- To eat the alloy out of (a low-grade gold) by means of an acid, leaving the fine gold on the surface.
- n. In phytogeography, one of several groups of plants which depend for their existence on other plants. The gilds (German genossen-schaften), according to Schimper, are four in number: lianes, epiphytes, saprophytes, and parasites. See
epiphyte, 1, liana, parasite, 2 , and saprophyte, A group of species which, owing to their like adaptations under fit conditions, invade a new region together and in mass. Pound and Clements.
- v. transitive To cover with a thin layer of gold; to cover with gold leaf.
- v. transitive To adorn.
- v. transitive To make appear drunk.
- n. Alternative form of guild.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To overlay with a thin covering of gold; to cover with a golden color; to cause to look like gold.
- v. To make attractive; to adorn; to brighten.
- v. To give a fair but deceptive outward appearance to; to embellish.
- v. obsolete To make red with drinking.
- n. a formal association of people with similar interests
- v. decorate with, or as if with, gold leaf or liquid gold
- Middle English gilden, from Old English gyldan; see ghel-2 in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Now, if I must conform my smiles to lightning, then my smiles must gild a storm too: to _gild_ with _smiles_, is a new invention of gilding.”
“II. ii.56 (444,8) gild the faces of the grooms withal,/For it must seem their guilt] Could Shakespeare possibly mean to play upon the similitude of _gild_ and _guilt_.”
“G has only the sound of g in give, get: gil ‘star’, in Gildor, Gilraen, Osgiliath, begins as in English gild.”
“For the protection and regulation of this trade the organization known as the gild merchant had grown up in each town.”
“According to what I read in a couple of dictionaries, "gild" means to decorate the outside of something, usually unnecessarily.”
“Before I tell you what I'm referring to when I say "my gilded cage in the Philippines", I need to tell you exactly what "gild" and the phrases "gilded cage" and "gild the lily" mean.”
“The world "gild" is what the word "guild" is based on, which is usually an association formed for the protection or support of its members.”
“Mr. Toulmin Smith tells us: "The link which has been broken and mislaid was the" English Guild "(or" gild, "as seems the more correct spelling).”
“Twentieth-century totalitarian art did not just gild the cage; it helped to build it.”
“The moment was caught in the leader's debate on Monday night when Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny did not gild the lilly and told an audience of close to one million watching that they would all have to share the pain.”
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