Definition of lily in US English:

lily

noun

  • 1A bulbous plant with large trumpet-shaped, typically fragrant, flowers on a tall, slender stem. Lilies have long been cultivated, some kinds being of symbolic importance and some used in perfumery.

    Genus Lilium, family Liliaceae (the lily family). This family includes many flowering bulbs, such as bluebells, hyacinths, and tulips. Several plants are often placed in different families, especially the Alliaceae (onions and their relatives), Aloaceae (aloes), and Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis, daffodils, jonquil), and as many as 38 families are sometimes recognized

    • ‘The flowers grow closer together on the stem than do other lilies (making them perfect for use in large, flower-filled bouquets).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Those who received potted lilies can plant the bulbs outside in an area with bright light or in morning sun and afternoon shade.’
    • ‘Daises, lilies, tulips, chrysanthemums, petunias, and hyacinths also blossomed.’
    • ‘The tulip is followed in popularity by the daffodil and other narcissi, the gladiolus, the lily and the crocus.’
    • ‘Occasionally religious symbols appear, such as a rose or lily, which in Christian mysticism indicate two streams of spiritual consciousness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ruby red gerberas and even fragrant lilies and roses are abundant.’
    • ‘Visitors to the garden will notice juniper, ash, walnut, mountain ash and beech trees as well as jasmine, honeysuckle, lilac, lilies and tulips.’
    • ‘As the tulips fade, the lilies take over, growing taller and taller to mask the dying foliage of the tulips.’
    • ‘This is also the time to plant lilies, tulips and alliums for spring colour.’
    • ‘Nico and Jean will take us on a tour of their facilities showing us the expanse of daffodils, tulips, lilies and delphiniums.’
    • ‘Your gaze rushes along the angel's body, down the outstretched arm, and along the stem of the lily he is offering the Virgin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There were daisies, roses, tulips, lilies, geraniums, sunflowers, wildflowers - all in certain patterns around the edges.’
    • ‘Autumn is the time to put in bulbs for early spring including snow-drops, daffodils, crocuses, lilies and bluebells.’
    • ‘It's shady, so we plant it with woodland, under-the-tree plants - ferns, hostas and lilies for colour.’
    • ‘They threw me flowers at curtain call tonight: tulips and lilies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He approached a vase of flowers and pulled on the stem of the white lily.’
    1. 1.1
      short for water lily
      • ‘The Egyptian priests and rulers were often buried with necklaces of waterlily blossoms, for the lilies symbolized resurrection from the dead.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The swans that flutter above, with garlands of lotuses or lilies in their beaks, suggest the cool fragrance of an aquatic environment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At planting time, add a little aquatic-plant fertilizer, especially for lilies.’
    2. 1.2 Used in names of other plants with flowers or leaves similar to those of the lily, e.g. arum lily.
      • ‘Peace lilies and prayer plants are easy to grow and require little maintenance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Plant Madonna lilies in full sun, rich cool and well-drained soil, but barely cover the bulbs.’
      • ‘They, in turn, supported a vetro a reticello basin in which blown-glass winged dragons clustered around a tall glass trumpet lily spouting water.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nonephemerals that bloom during the summer or fall are Canada lily, false hellebore, and species of aster, goldenrod, and sunflower.’
      • ‘There were Arum lilies down the gullies growing wild.’
      • ‘The steps of the church were laden with bundles of palm leaves, creamy Madonna lilies and other traditional Easter blooms.’
      • ‘Rather brace yourself for bunches of fresh arum lilies, proteas, flame lilies and aloe leaves.’
      • ‘That oasis includes palm trees, a peace lily, a corn plant, even a pachira plant - a so-called money tree.’
      • ‘Studies of seed germination, leaf development and the onset of thermogenesis during flowering in Arum lilies all provide evidence of mitochondrial heterogeneity.’
      • ‘Another very hardy summer bulbous plant is the zephyranthes lily.’
      • ‘The Snowdon lily and the Welsh poppy are neck-and-neck in Caernarvonshire.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Guernsey lilies make excellent cut flowers and are a terrific addition to rock gardens and container gardens.’
      • ‘Two plants that thrive on very little water are the impala lily and the reed stem orchid.’
      • ‘He saw Casablancas, Belladonna lilies, Forget-Me-Knots, Moonflowers, and of course, roses.’
      • ‘Another plant associated with the celebrations is the Peruvian lily called Alstroemeria, ‘The Golden Jubilee Lily’.’
  • 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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

lily

/ˈlilē//ˈlɪli/