views updated Jun 11 2018

lily a white lily stands for purity, and is especially associated with the Virgin Mary (in representations of the Annunciation, Gabriel is often shown holding a lily). A lily is the emblem of St Anthony of Padua, St Catherine of Siena, and St Dominic.

In heraldry, the lilies of the fleur-de-lis, or golden lilies, represent France, and especially the royal arms of the former French monarchy.

An orange lily is an emblem of the Orange Order.
lilies of the field in biblical translations, any of a number of conspicuous Palestinian flowers, variously identified as a lily, tulip, anemone, and gladiolus. In Matthew 6:28, they are taken as a type of natural beauty not earned by human effort (‘they toil not, neither do they spin’), but which is unexampled (‘Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these’).
lily of the valley in the Bible, used to translate the Vulgate's lilium convallium (Song of Solomon), an unidentified plant.

See also gild the lily, Lent lily.


views updated May 23 2018

lil·y / ˈlilē/ • n. 1. a widely cultivated bulbous plant (genus Lilium) with large trumpet-shaped, typically fragrant, flowers on a tall, slender stem. The lily family (Liliaceae) includes many flowering bulbs, such as bluebells, hyacinths, and tulips. Several plants are often placed in different families, esp. Alliaceae (onions and their relatives), Aloaceae (aloes), and Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis, daffodils, jonquil). ∎ short for water lily. ∎  used in names of other plants with similar flowers or leaves, e.g., arum lily. 2. a heraldic fleur-de-lis.DERIVATIVES: lil·ied / ˈlilēd/ adj.


views updated May 14 2018

lily Any of numerous species of perennial, bulb-producing plants of the genus Lilium, from temperate and subtropical regions. They have erect stems and various leaf arrangements. The showy flowers may be almost any colour.


views updated May 21 2018

lily See LILIUM.


views updated Jun 08 2018

lily OE. lilie (weak fem.) — L. līlium; of alien orig. (cf. Gr. leírion).