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 The lilac bush outside my office has buds already — hard and tight and cold. Kelly Barnhill, Star Tribune, "Running helped Minnesota author Kelly Barnhill weather the seasons," 24 Mar. 2021 This particular camera comes in five colors: lilac, sky blue, white, charcoal grey, and blush pink. Popular Science, "Best gifts for teenage girls," 16 Mar. 2021 While walking the red carpet, the performer opted for a yellow plaid blazer, brown pants, and another floor-grazing boa — this time in lilac. Lydia Wang,, "Harry Styles Wore Not One, Not Two, But Three Boas To The Grammys," 15 Mar. 2021 Harry Styles’s face mask in the same yellow plaid as his classic Gucci suit would have been enough on its own—but a lilac feather boa was on call to up the glam rock ante a little further. Liam Hess, Vogue, "The Ultimate Grammys Accessory This Year? Coordinating Masks," 14 Mar. 2021 Highlights include extensive lilac, chestnut, and conifer collections as well as a collection of heritage apple trees. Alyssa Giacobbe,, "A plant lover’s guide to 16 gorgeous gardens and arboretums around New England," 4 Mar. 2021 Some drinkers would likely mistake Newfound’s Gravels Grenache for a Pinot, with its translucent ruby hue, its bright pop of red cherry, its aromas of lilac and cranberry, its gentle bite of black tea-like tannins. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "This ethereal red shows why Grenache may be California's most climate change-resistant wine," 24 Feb. 2021 This semi-permanent conditioner will make your hair a lovely lilac. Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, "Pastel Hair Is the Prettiest Trend to Try This Spring," 22 Feb. 2021 Ceanothus arboreus– commonly called California Lilac or wild lilac. Janet B. Carson, Arkansas Online, "Mystery plants all from England this week," 11 Jan. 2021

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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Statistics for lilac

Last Updated

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lilac.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for lilac



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

More from Merriam-Webster on lilac

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

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