lily

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gild the lily

To further adorn something that is already beautiful. You look radiant, as always—wearing such an extravagant gown is just gilding the lily.
See also: gild, lily

knock the dew off the lily

euphemism Of a man, to urinate. Excuse me a moment, I just need to go knock the dew off the lily.
See also: dew, knock, lily, off

lily-livered

Cowardly or fearful. I'm not surprised that Tom didn't come to the rally—he's too lily-livered to defend his beliefs in public.

lily-white

1. Pure white in color. The locals were absolutely fascinated with our lily-white skin.
2. Strait-laced; totally honest. You're being naïve if you think the top business people are lily white.
3. Consisting solely or primarily of white people. He'd always lived in lily-white towns, so he felt a bit out of place when he moved to a city with a large black community.

paint the lily

To add embellishment to something that is already beautiful or outstanding. The phrase comes from Shakespeare's King John: "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily ... is wasteful and ridiculous excess." My wife is so gorgeous that putting her in a fancy gown would just be painting the lily. Why add a filter to your photo of the rainbow? No need to paint the lily.
See also: lily, paint

shake the dew off the lily

euphemism To urinate. Said of or by a man. Excuse me a moment, I just need to go shake the dew off the lily.
See also: dew, lily, off, shake

gild the lily

Fig. to add ornament or decoration to something that is pleasing in its original state; to attempt to improve something that is already fine the way it is. (Often refers to flattery or exaggeration.) Your house has lovely brickwork. Don't paint it. That would be gilding the lily. Oh, Sally. You're beautiful the way you are. You don't need makeup. You would be gilding the lily.
See also: gild, lily

gild the lily

Add unnecessary adornment or supposed improvement. For example, Offering three different desserts after that elaborate meal would be gilding the lily. This expression is a condensation of Shakespeare's metaphor in King John (4:2): "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily ... is wasteful and ridiculous excess." [c. 1800]
See also: gild, lily

gild the lily

If someone gilds the lily, they try to improve something which is already very good, and so what they are doing is unnecessary. There can be a temptation to gild the lily in such documents, making exaggerated claims about what the school can offer to students. Top the cake with ice cream or whipped cream, if you're keen on gilding the lily. Note: This expression may be based on lines in Shakespeare's `King John' (1595): `To gild refined gold, to paint the lily... Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.' (Act 4, Scene 2)
See also: gild, lily

gild the lily

try to improve what is already beautiful or excellent.
This phrase adapts lines from Shakespeare's King John: ‘To gild refined gold, to paint the lily…Is wasteful and ridiculous excess’.
See also: gild, lily

gild the ˈlily

try to improve something which is already perfect, and so spoil it: The dress is perfect. Don’t add anything to it at all. It would just be gilding the lily.This comes from Shakespeare’s play King John. Gild means ‘to cover something with a thin layer of gold’. A lily is a very beautiful flower.
See also: gild, lily

knock the dew off the lily

and shake the dew off the lily
phr. [for a male] to urinate, especially first thing in the morning. (The dew is urine.) He’s up and into the bathroom, knocking the dew off the lily long before I even get my eyes open. I gotta go shake the dew off the lily before I explode.
See also: dew, knock, lily, off

shake the dew off the lily

verb
See also: dew, lily, off, shake

lily-livered

mod. cowardly. That lily-livered guy is up hiding under his bed till this blows over.

gild the lily

1. To adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful.
2. To make superfluous additions to what is already complete.
See also: gild, lily

gild the lily, to

To add excessive ornament; to pile excess on excess. This term is a condensation of Shakespeare’s statement in King John (4.2), “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily . . . is wasteful and ridiculous excess.” Earlier (sixteenth-century) versions of this idea cited whitening ivory with ink (Erasmus, Adagia) and painting fine marble (George Pettie, Petite Pallace). Byron quoted Shakespeare correctly (“But Shakespeare also says, ’tis very silly to gild refined gold, or paint the lily”), in Don Juan (1818), but sometime during the succeeding years it became the cliché we now know.
See also: gild

gild the lily

Engage in an unnecessary and usually wasteful activity. Like carrying coals to Newcastle, to gild a lily would be a waste of time as the flower already possesses more than sufficient beauty. The phrase comes from a misquotation of lines from Shakespeare's King John: Therefore, to be possess'd with double pomp, To guard a title that was rich before, To gild refined gold, to paint the lily . . . Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
See also: gild, lily
References in classic literature ?
And when Lily came to the castle, he welcomed her so courteously that she agreed to marry him.
Her second sister was soon after married, and when Lily was asked to go to the wedding, she said to the prince, 'I will not go alone this time--you must go with me.' But he would not, and said that it would be a very hazardous thing; for if the least ray of the torch-light should fall upon him his enchantment would become still worse, for he should be changed into a dove, and be forced to wander about the world for seven long years.
Then the chief of the Halakazi caused the maid who was named the Lily to be led before the messengers of Dingaan, and they found her wonderfully fair, for so they said: she was tall as a reed, and her grace was the grace of a reed that is shaken in the wind.
Therefore Dingaan yielded to the voice of his indunas and no impi was sent against the Halakazi to seek the maid that was named the Lily. But still he hankered for her in his heart, and from that hour he hated me because I had crossed his will and robbed him of his desire.
We watched and saw how fair and sweet the humble flower grew, and then gladly bore her here, to blossom with the lily and the rose.
Diana and Jane and Ruby only waited long enough to see it caught in the current and headed for the bridge before scampering up through the woods, across the road, and down to the lower headland where, as Lancelot and Guinevere and the King, they were to be in readiness to receive the lily maid.
The minutes passed by, each seeming an hour to the unfortunate lily maid.
If Charley Long bullied up to him would he let her go as he had let Lily Sanderson go?
"I'm no Lily Sanderson," Saxon answered indignantly.