lilac (n.) Look up lilac at
1590s, shrub of genus Syringa with mauve flowers, with French lilac, Spanish lilac from Turkish leylak (the tree reached Western Europe via Istanbul), perhaps from a native Balkan name. Attested from 1791 as a color name; as a scent, from 1895. As an adjective, "pale pinkish-purple," from 1801. Related: Lilaceous.