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Gilding the Lily

The phrase ‘Gilding the Lily’ indicates that something has been unnecessarily decorated or over-embellished.

Example in use: You don’t need to wear so much makeup; it’s just gilding the lily.”


Interesting fact about Gilding the Lily

Some scholars believe that Shakespeare came up with the term ‘Gild the Lily,’ and that he did mention ‘painting the lily’ in his 1595 work, King John. The term ‘paint the lily’ was used again in the 29th century, meaning the same as ‘Gild the Lily.’ The Newark Daily Advocate was among the first ever to put ‘Gild the Lily’ in print, apparently re-quoting Shakespeare: “One may gild the lily and paint the rose, but to convey by words only an adequate idea of the hats and bonnets now exhibited absolutely passes human ability.”