gild

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Related to gilds: Guilds, gilds the lily

be (like) a bird in a gilded cage

To live a life of wealth and luxury but to be without true freedom, happiness, or contentment. She married her husband because of his fortune, and now she is a bird in a gilded cage, living her lonely life inside their empty mansion with a man she does not love. John forsook his friends and family in the pursuit of his riches, but with no friends or loved ones, he is now like a bird in a gilded cage.
See also: bird, cage, gild

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

gild the pill

To make something unpleasant seem appealing. I knew that my daughter was not going to be happy to go the doctor, so I gilded the pill by reminding her about all the toys that are in the office.
See also: gild, pill

gilded cage

A life of wealth and luxury but without true freedom, happiness, or contentment. She married her husband because of his fortune, but her lonely life inside their mansion with a man she did not love quickly became a gilded cage.
See also: cage, gild
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

gilded cage

The encumbrances or limitations that often accompany material wealth, as in She had furs, jewelry, whatever money could buy, but was trapped in a gilded cage. This metaphoric expression indicating that riches cannot buy happiness was popularized (and possibly coined) in a song, "A Bird in a Gilded Cage" (1990; lyrics by Arthur J. Lamb, music by Harry von Tilzer), about a young girl marrying for wealth instead of love and paying for luxury with a life of regret.
See also: cage, gild

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

gild the lily

1. To adorn unnecessarily something already beautiful.
2. To make superfluous additions to what is already complete.
See also: gild, lily
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

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
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
When the need arose, the Gild also paid for the burial of the poor "very honestly" with a dirge and mass.
Named after King Edward VI himself, the school was endowed with a large part of the possessions of the Gild of the Holy Cross.
Today much of it is covered by the Ladywood Middleway, but Guild Close still calls to mind the Gild of the Holy Cross.
But it was the progress of the Reformation which was to deliver to the gilds a fatal blow.
A gild might have possessed propoerty such as houses, lands or livestock which it would let out annually for use and profit.
to the fraternity of the Gild of the Holy Trinity in Lavenham to buy lands tenements or rents for a priest to celebrate divine service for ever in the church for the souls of the brothers and sisters of the fraternity [pound]20.
Lavenham wills refer to the Alderman, who was the head or president of the gild and to the chaplain, who appears to have held no similar office in the church itself.
Although requests to Corpus Christi Gild were made some fifty years earlier, indicating an earlier establishment, it is generally accepted that the present Guildhall was erected in about 1520.
This facility was provided by the Gild of St John the Baptist in Deritend.
Still the Gild of the Holy Cross itself was a wide-ranging body, a kind of a trust that was funded by wealthy folk and which became vital for the physical wellbeing of Birmingham's people as much as for their souls.
With regard to Birmingham they stated that the town had many poor people whom the Gild "found, aided and succoured...
Undaunted, the next year leading Birmingham men, amongst them the High Bailiff Richard Smalbroke, petitioned the king for the return of some of the Gild's funds so as to endow a school.