Gild the lily

Definition

Gild the lily is an idiom which means to add unnecessary ornamentation or embellishment to something that is already beautiful or perfect.

Examples

You’ve already bought her an expensive necklace, don’t gild the lily by buying her a designer watch too!

I think that painting is great as it is, you don’t need to gild the lily by adding more color to it.

Origin

This idiom dates back to the 16th century, when it was first seen in the works of William Shakespeare. He wrote in one of his plays, ‘To gild refined gold, to paint the lily.’

FAQs

What does ‘gild the lily’ mean?

It means to add unnecessary ornamentation or embellishment to something that is already beautiful or perfect.

Where does the idiom come from?

This idiom dates back to the 16th century, when it was first seen in the works of William Shakespeare. He wrote in one of his plays, ‘To gild refined gold, to paint the lily.’