\ ˈgild How to pronounce gild (audio) \
gilded\ ˈgil-​dəd How to pronounce gild (audio) \ or gilt\ ˈgilt How to pronounce gild (audio) \; gilding

Definition of gild

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to overlay with or as if with a thin covering of gold
2a : to give money to
b : to give an attractive but often deceptive appearance to was hired to gild the company's image
c archaic : to make bloody
gild the lily
: to add unnecessary ornamentation to something beautiful in its own right



less common spelling of

1 : an association of people with similar interests or pursuits especially : a medieval association of merchants or craftsmen
2 : a group of organisms that use the same ecological resource in a similar way a feeding guild

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gild


gilder noun

Examples of gild in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the up-to-the-minute plotlines gild what insiders say has been a very tumultuous time. Washington Post, "Your favorite fall TV shows look normal. Making them in a pandemic is anything but.," 25 Nov. 2020 The sauce should gild, not asphyxiate, the noodles. Saveur Editors, Saveur, "Our Best Classic Italian Recipes for Red-Sauced, Olive-Oiled Glory," 30 May 2017 Apple first rose to fame as a troubadour of sad songs gilded with rage, her voice burning with emotion. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Fiona Apple Gets Free," 21 Apr. 2020 Rather than repair the damage, the savvy city instead decided to gild the cannon ball — highlighting the monument’s imperviousness to attack. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: U.S. should build a memorial ‘plague column’ for COVID-19, but where? Here’s an idea," 5 May 2020 Three-quarters of the world’s Bruegel paintings under one roof would be more than enough for a blockbuster, but the curators have gilded the lily by adding nearly half of the master’s surviving drawings and prints. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "Strange and Stirring Bruegel," 7 Sep. 2018 Everything after that is, in a certain sense, gilding the lily. David Kender, USA TODAY, "How high-tech does an electric toothbrush really need to be?," 20 Jan. 2020 The coffin that’s left is gilded and painted with winged gods, beetles, falcons, panthers, and inscriptions. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "In Montreal, Egyptian Mummies, in 3-D, Have Secrets to Share," 18 Jan. 2020 The mood appears to die down, in twilit tranquillity, at the close of Ruiz’s début day, with Les Bosquets gilded by the sun’s last rays. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Paris on the Brink in “Les Misérables”," 3 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gild.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of gild


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gild


Middle English, from Old English gyldan; akin to Old English gold gold

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gild

Time Traveler for gild

Time Traveler

The first known use of gild was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for gild

Last Updated

2 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gild.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gild


How to pronounce gild (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gild

: to cover (something) with a thin layer of gold


\ ˈgild How to pronounce gild (audio) \
gilded or gilt\ ˈgilt \; gilding

Kids Definition of gild

: to cover with a thin coating of gold gilded doors

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on gild

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gild

Nglish: Translation of gild for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about gild

Comments on gild

What made you want to look up gild? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!