li·​lac | \ ˈlī-ˌläk How to pronounce lilac (audio) , -ˌlak, -lək How to pronounce lilac (audio) \

Definition of lilac

1a : a widely cultivated European shrub (Syringa vulgaris) of the olive family that has cordate ovate leaves and large panicles of fragrant pinkish-purple or white flowers
b : a tree or shrub congeneric with the lilac
2 : a variable color averaging a moderate purple

Illustration of lilac

Illustration of lilac

lilac 1a

Examples of lilac in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Eggs begin hatching when the local environment reaches 300 degree days at 50 degrees F or when lilacs are in full bloom. oregonlive, "Can I harvest neglected garlic bulbs now? Ask an expert," 22 Feb. 2020 Yara Shahidi shimmied alongside friends Phoebe Pojo and Samia Hampstead, only after her pale lilac pout was perfected, of course, while Luka Sabbat was caught grooming his moustache and thick arches with utter swagger. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Watch Yara Shahidi, Lily Collins, and More Stars Touch Up Their Met Gala After-Party Makeup," 9 May 2018 Pacific Coast Plant California mountain lilac and you won’t be setting any new trends—just ensuring a long-lasting, cornea-busting, deep azure explosion of blossom come spring. Molly Marquand, Good Housekeeping, "15 Native Wildflowers Every Gardener Should Plant," 5 May 2017 The Spring 2020 collection is a nuanced range of pastels — from iridescent lilac 'Spring in Your Step' to fruity green 'Can Dew Attitude' — and all six bottles are available right now. Megan Decker,, "Essie’s Spring Nail Collection Is A Fresh Take On Pastels," 18 Feb. 2020 Women's Cozy Holiday Fleece Pullover ($15, originally $30; Perfect to wear over your workout clothes or lounging around at home, this fleece pullover is available in tempting shades like lilac, turquoise and dark purple. CNN Underscored, "All the best deals from Target's Cyber Monday sale," 2 Dec. 2019 The flower colors are pink, red, white, lilac, purple and lavender. Calvin Finch,, "The best cool-weather annuals for your San Antonio garden," 31 Oct. 2019 The bright shade was more defined than a subtle lilac, proving a perfect match for her fun beach-ready fashion ensemble. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Beyoncé Wore Bright Purple Lipstick," 6 Sep. 2018 Rina Sawayama rocked icy toned layers on hers with choppy pigtails and pink lipgloss, while singer Cosima wore a dreamy hue of lilac on her eyes as a cascade of curls fell behind her. Akili King, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Instagrams of the Week: Zazie Beetz, Flora Carter, and More," 3 Nov. 2019

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

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First Known Use of lilac

1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lilac

obsolete French (now lilas), from Arabic līlak, from Persian nīlak bluish, from nīl blue, from Sanskrit nīla dark blue

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Time Traveler for lilac

Time Traveler

The first known use of lilac was in 1625

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Statistics for lilac

Last Updated

25 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lilac.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for lilac


How to pronounce lilac (audio) How to pronounce lilac (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lilac

: a type of bush with purple or white flowers that bloom in the spring
: a light purple color


li·​lac | \ ˈlī-ˌläk How to pronounce lilac (audio) , -ˌlak, -lək \

Kids Definition of lilac

1 : a bush having clusters of fragrant pink, purple, or white flowers
2 : a medium purple

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More from Merriam-Webster on lilac

Spanish Central: Translation of lilac

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

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