Definition of squill in English:



  • 1A coastal Mediterranean plant of the lily family, with broad leaves, white flowers, and a very large bulb.

    • ‘Scilla, or squill, is a naturalizing bulb that produces clusters of 1-inch, bell-shaped blooms in blue, purple, pink and white on 6-to 10-inch stems.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the island nation exported to America items such as olive oil, lemons, sulphur, ivory, salt, rags, goat skins, stoneware, soap, squills, sponges, and donkeys of the largest and most valuable race in the Mediterranean.’
    • ‘Large bulbs such as tulips and daffodils should be placed four to six inches apart while smaller bulbs such as crocus, snowdrops, and squill, should be placed one to two inches apart.’
    • ‘‘If one of us had a cough, Mam would send me to the chemist for a ‘shilling mix’ (bring your own bottle), which consisted of three-penny-worth each of glycerine, syrup of squills, liquorice, and ipecac wine.’
    • ‘A number of herbs including oleander, adonis, black Indian hemp, black hellebore, lily-of-the-valley, squill, and strophanthus contain an active cardiac glycoside that can potentiate digoxin.’
    1. 1.1An extract of the bulb of the squill, which is poisonous and has medicinal and other uses.
      • ‘Expectorants for example guaiphenesin, ammonium chloride, squill, sodium citrate and ipecacuanha may help chesty coughs.’
      • ‘Some drug materials, e.g. garlic and squill, are extremely hygroscopic and in the presence of water tend to fuse into lumps which make them unsuitable for the percolation process.’
      • ‘Vinegar flavoured with squill (also known as ‘sea onion’, Urginea maritima) was a favourite condiment.’
  • 2[usually with modifier] A small plant of the lily family that resembles a hyacinth and has slender straplike leaves and small clusters of violet-blue or blue-striped flowers.

    • ‘There is a good display of common primrose on cliffsides and stream banks and of blue spring squill in coastal heaths at Corbiegoe, Dwarick, Dunnet and Duncansby Head.’
    • ‘Occasionally spring squill are found in grassy areas away from the coast.’
    • ‘In spring the island is carpeted in bluebells and spring squills.’
    • ‘In early summer, the ledges and cliff tops are carpeted with wild flowers such as bird's foot trefoil, kidney vetch, spring squill and thrift.’
    • ‘Along with the various scillas, consideration must be given to the striped squills or Puschkinias.’
    • ‘Blue harebells and spring squill grew along the cliff path.’
    • ‘Blue is taken up by the spring squills, with their small, clear flowers surrounded by agitated leaves.’
    • ‘Along the coastal margin, the spring squill makes hazy blue carpets in early spring.’
    • ‘The picture above shows volunteer Dutchman's breeches, blue and striped squills, and Trillium recurvatum.’
    • ‘With striped squill, the corona is made up of ‘fused filaments’ and the flowers ‘do not open flat.’’
    • ‘The clifftop has spectacular displays of sea campion, thrift and spring squill.’
    • ‘The coastal cliffs and headlands form a natural rockery where primrose, roseroot, thrift, bladder campion, mountain avens, marram grass, violets and spring squills may be found.’
    • ‘The first plants to appear with the melting snows include drifts of spring and trumpet gentians, Narcissus asturiensis and spring squill.’
    • ‘Winter aconite, snowdrop, and striped squill flower in February or March.’
    • ‘Meanwhile on land, the spring flowers were also showing in some splendour - these spring squill had formed dense mats on some rocky parts of the machair, while the burns were a mass of marsh marigolds in parts.’
    • ‘Abundant marsh-marigold, northern marsh-orchid and meadowsweet occur in wetter ground; carpets of spring squill, bird's foot-trefoil and heath spotted-orchid cover cliff tops; the wetter heaths turn golden with bog asphodel; and grazing-sensitive kidney vetch and wild angelica have re-colonised some seasonally grazed pastures.’
    • ‘In the springy short turf along the coast grow species including sea pink, spring squill, bird's foot trefoil, sea campion, scurvy grass and sheep's bit which also transform some stretches of cliff into colourful ` hanging gardens’.’
    • ‘I love the tiny tete a tete daffodils and spring squills, grape hyacinths and species Irises, but so does Puppy.’
    • ‘Many are small bulbs, primarily Crocus tommasianus, snowdrops, Iris reticulata and striped squill or pushkinia.’
    • ‘Lesser celandine and bulbous buttercup supply colour in spring, ragwort and carlile thistle in autumn, but the main burst of flowering is in May, when the varied pinks of a multitude of thrift cushions spreads upwards from the South and West and the north-western turf is starred with the blue of spring squills.’


Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek skilla.