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Gild the lily embellish excessively, add ornament where none is needed, from an alteration of a quotation from Shakespeare's KingJohn, ‘To gild refinèd gold, to paint the lily’. The conflated expression gild the lily is recorded from the early 20th century.

gild the pill make something unpleasant seem more acceptable (pills were traditionally coated with gilt to make them more attractive).

See also gilded, gilt.

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