Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An iris, especially a white-flowered form of Iris germanica.
  • n. Heraldry A device consisting of a stylized three-petaled iris flower, used as the armorial emblem of the kings of France.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A design representing a flower whose three petals are joined together at the bottom, often used in heraldry, where it is particularly associated with the French monarchy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The iris. See flower-de-luce.
  • n. A conventional flower suggested by the iris, and having a form which fits it for the terminal decoration of a scepter, the ornaments of a crown, etc. It is also a heraldic bearing, and is identified with the royal arms and adornments of France.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In heraldry, a bearing as to the origin of which there is much dispute, some authorities maintaining that it represents the lily, others that it represents the head of a lance or some such warlike weapon.
  • n. In botany, the iris: commonly called flower-de-luce.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. plants with sword-shaped leaves and erect stalks bearing bright-colored flowers composed of three petals and three drooping sepals
  • n. (heraldry) charge consisting of a conventionalized representation of an iris

Etymologies

Middle English flour de lice, from Old French flor de lis : flor, flower + de, of + lis, lily.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French fleur de lys, "lily flower" (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The new takeout box features those hues and a new, more refined logo, which includes the fleur-de-lis, which is ubiquitous in New Orleans.

    NYT > Home Page

  • The winning fedora was to be found atop a gent named Michael Woodlee , who kept things understated with three fleur-de-lis pins on a black hat.

    Hot Heads Unite to Mind the Plumage

  • A fleur-de-lis done in gold on blue decorated each vault of the ceiling.

    Crossed

  • Hundreds of the little fleur-de-lis scales and seeds were scattered by the wind and even now some lie on the window ledge suspended in the threads of long-abandoned spiders' webs.

    Country diary: Sandy, Bedfordshire

  • Wearing only a fleur-de-lis T-shirt and panties, Heather sat down on the mattress beside him and held her breath as she gently pulled the sheet back.

    Etched in Bone

  • They ooh and aah over every aspect of the house—the skylight over the stairs, the fleur-de-lis wallpaper in the back upstairs bathroom, even the finished attic I use as my bedroom—but they always find some flaw, something to complain about.

    The Kitchen Daughter

  • Her ivory neck and face rises like a stamen from her red satin dress, perhaps evoking the Florentine fleur-de-lis.

    Bronzino's Medici portraits – review

  • Quebec's blue-and-white, fleur-de-lis flag was also out in force in St. Peter's Square in support of Brother Andre, a Canadian who legend says healed thousands of sick who prayed with him at his Montreal oratory.

    Mary MacKillop, First Australian Saint, Canonized

  • The white -- jeans? sweats? we can't tell -- with beige fleur-de-lis detailing are just a little too Ed Hardy for our taste, okay?

    PHOTOS: First Lady Arrives Home In Questionable Pants

  • The players wear the fleur-de-lis on their jersey, a sign of the city.

    Chasen Marshall: MLS Needs More Than a New Stadium

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