Definition of lily in English:



  • 1A bulbous plant with large trumpet-shaped, typically fragrant, flowers on a tall, slender stem.

    • ‘But what really made her smile was the short stem red rose on her pillow and a bunch of lilies and tulips on the table.’
    • ‘There were daisies, roses, tulips, lilies, geraniums, sunflowers, wildflowers - all in certain patterns around the edges.’
    • ‘The miracle of spring flowers such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and lilies is even more astounding when one realizes how they reach the bloom stage each year.’
    • ‘Choose flowers with large heads like gerbera, lilies, orchids or sunflowers, add one stem per bottle and line them up on your mantelpiece for instant glamour.’
    • ‘Daises, lilies, tulips, chrysanthemums, petunias, and hyacinths also blossomed.’
    • ‘The flowers grow closer together on the stem than do other lilies (making them perfect for use in large, flower-filled bouquets).’
    • ‘As the tulips fade, the lilies take over, growing taller and taller to mask the dying foliage of the tulips.’
    • ‘Nico and Jean will take us on a tour of their facilities showing us the expanse of daffodils, tulips, lilies and delphiniums.’
    • ‘Those who received potted lilies can plant the bulbs outside in an area with bright light or in morning sun and afternoon shade.’
    • ‘Visitors to the garden will notice juniper, ash, walnut, mountain ash and beech trees as well as jasmine, honeysuckle, lilac, lilies and tulips.’
    • ‘Your gaze rushes along the angel's body, down the outstretched arm, and along the stem of the lily he is offering the Virgin.’
    • ‘It's shady, so we plant it with woodland, under-the-tree plants - ferns, hostas and lilies for colour.’
    • ‘He approached a vase of flowers and pulled on the stem of the white lily.’
    • ‘Ruby red gerberas and even fragrant lilies and roses are abundant.’
    • ‘The tulip is followed in popularity by the daffodil and other narcissi, the gladiolus, the lily and the crocus.’
    • ‘They threw me flowers at curtain call tonight: tulips and lilies.’
    • ‘The front of the train was decked with seven sprays of white lilies tied with black ribbon, one for each decade of Mr Hartley's life.’
    • ‘Occasionally religious symbols appear, such as a rose or lily, which in Christian mysticism indicate two streams of spiritual consciousness.’
    • ‘This is also the time to plant lilies, tulips and alliums for spring colour.’
    • ‘Autumn is the time to put in bulbs for early spring including snow-drops, daffodils, crocuses, lilies and bluebells.’
    1. 1.1
      short for water lily
      • ‘The swans that flutter above, with garlands of lotuses or lilies in their beaks, suggest the cool fragrance of an aquatic environment.’
      • ‘At planting time, add a little aquatic-plant fertilizer, especially for lilies.’
      • ‘All round us, the lilies, lotuses, white trailing fronds of aquatic plants are opening up their own restaurants to a buzz of water beetles and insects.’
      • ‘Water lilies grew along the riverbank as the stream of water flowed around trees that grew juicy fruits.’
      • ‘The Jacanas are totally adapted to wetland habitats with floating vegetation like lotus, lily, hydrilla and wetland rushes.’
      • ‘Guide Butch Terpe reported he has been taking good numbers of hand-size bream by fishing meal worms under a cork in about four feet of water near lilies or other aquatic vegetation.’
      • ‘The Egyptian priests and rulers were often buried with necklaces of waterlily blossoms, for the lilies symbolized resurrection from the dead.’
      • ‘Garbage mounds and junk shops hem in the lake, its murky waters shared by lilies and plastic bottles.’
      • ‘A whole new world of gardening awaits you when you go searching for water lettuce, water hyacinths, lilies and prairie grass.’
      • ‘Borland takes me on a tour of the back end of the distillery, where the waste water is filtered through reed beds full of bulrushes and lilies.’
      • ‘We would play around the fountains, and if we had money to hire a boat from the boating club, go boating in the ponds navigating carefully through a crowd of lotuses and lilies.’
    2. 1.2Used in names of other plants with flowers or leaves similar to those of the lily, e.g. arum lily.
      • ‘This is an excellent time for planting the Madonna lily.’
      • ‘I played in a backyard that was a jungle of cala lilies and fig trees, tiny frogs and ancient turtles.’
      • ‘Another plant associated with the celebrations is the Peruvian lily called Alstroemeria, ‘The Golden Jubilee Lily’.’
      • ‘Peace lilies and prayer plants are easy to grow and require little maintenance.’
      • ‘Rather brace yourself for bunches of fresh arum lilies, proteas, flame lilies and aloe leaves.’
      • ‘Plant Madonna lilies in full sun, rich cool and well-drained soil, but barely cover the bulbs.’
      • ‘Guernsey lilies make excellent cut flowers and are a terrific addition to rock gardens and container gardens.’
      • ‘There were Arum lilies down the gullies growing wild.’
      • ‘He saw Casablancas, Belladonna lilies, Forget-Me-Knots, Moonflowers, and of course, roses.’
      • ‘Nonephemerals that bloom during the summer or fall are Canada lily, false hellebore, and species of aster, goldenrod, and sunflower.’
      • ‘They, in turn, supported a vetro a reticello basin in which blown-glass winged dragons clustered around a tall glass trumpet lily spouting water.’
      • ‘Situated at the edge of Loch Dunvegan, the garden is extensive with a parterre, and woodland areas planted with Himalayan blue poppies and the Himalayan lily Cardiocrinum.’
      • ‘Studies of seed germination, leaf development and the onset of thermogenesis during flowering in Arum lilies all provide evidence of mitochondrial heterogeneity.’
      • ‘The steps of the church were laden with bundles of palm leaves, creamy Madonna lilies and other traditional Easter blooms.’
      • ‘Two plants that thrive on very little water are the impala lily and the reed stem orchid.’
      • ‘That oasis includes palm trees, a peace lily, a corn plant, even a pachira plant - a so-called money tree.’
      • ‘The Snowdon lily and the Welsh poppy are neck-and-neck in Caernarvonshire.’
      • ‘They gave the odd lilies the name of Maiden Lilies, for they had the same colorations of the pale skinned, blue haired, dark haired women of the village.’
      • ‘Another very hardy summer bulbous plant is the zephyranthes lily.’
      • ‘I also needed to overhaul and sort out my collection of things in pots - the stars of the show at the moment are four enormous pots of white regale lilies, the tallest of which are about seven feet high.’
  • 2A heraldic fleur-de-lis.

    • ‘‘The badge does indeed combine the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower with a cradle and the fleur de lis, or lily,’ explains Tim Pike.’


Old English lilie, from Latin lilium, from Greek leirion.