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1. Literally, to coat something (usually a base metal) in a thin layer of gold. I just don't understand why you would ever want—let alone need—to gold-plate your bathtub.
2. By extension, to incorporate unnecessary, superfluous, and/or overbearing refinements, additions, or embellishments into something. Congress took what should have been a straightforward clean water initiative and gold-plated it into a cumbersome, overreaching, and wildly impractical mess of a bill. Knowing that the city council would be footing the bill, the architect tried to gold-plate the design for the new courthouse.