Advertisement
32 entries found
Search filter: All Results 
lily (n.)
Old English lilie, from Latin lilia, plural of lilium "a lily," cognate with Greek leirion, both perhaps borrowed from a corrupted pronunciation of an eastern Mediterranean word (de Vaan compares Coptic hreri, hleli "lily"). Used in Old Testament to translate Hebrew shoshanna and in New Testament to translate Greek krinon. As an adjective, 1530s, "white, pure, lovely;" later "pale, colorless" (1580s).

Figurative of whiteness, fairness, purity. The Latin word has become the general word in languages across Europe: German lilie, Dutch lelie, Swedish lilja, French lis, Spanish lirio, Italian giglio, Polish lilija, Russian liliya. The French word is contracted from Latin lilius, a rare surviving nominative form in French. In Old French lilie (12c.) also existed. Related: Lilied; lilaceous.

The lily of the valley translates Latin lilium convallium (Vulgate), a literal rendition of the Hebrew term in Song of Solomon ii:1; in modern times the name was applied to a particular plant (Convallaria majalis) apparently first by 16c. German herbalists. Lily pad is from 1834, American English. For gild the lily see gilded.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
leper (n.)
"one afflicted with leprosy," late 14c., earlier "the disease leprosy," from Late Latin lepra, from Greek lepra "leprosy," noun use of fem. of lepros (adj.) "scaly, scabby, rough, leprous," related to lepein "to peel," from lepos, lepis "a scale," from PIE root *lep- (1) "to peel," which also yields words for "something delicate and weak," via the notion of "small shaving, flake, scale" (cognates: Latin lepidus "pleasant, charming, fine, elegant, effeminate," lepos "pleasantness, agreeableness;" Old English læfer "rush, reed; metal plate;" Lithuanian lopas "patch, rag, cloth," lepus "soft, weak, effeminate").

Originally in Middle English this was the word for the disease itself (mid-13c., via Old French lepre); the shift in meaning to "person with leprosy" perhaps developed in Anglo-French, or is because the -er ending resembled an agent-noun affix. By mid-15c. other nouns for the disease were being coined (see leprosy). In English lepra also was an old name for psoriasis (late 14c.).
Related entries & more 
lily-pad (n.)
"broad leaf of the water-lily," 1834, American English, from lily (n.) + pad (n.).
Related entries & more 
lily-white (adj.)
early 14c., from lily + white (adj.); from 1903 with reference to whites-only segregation; 1961 as "irreproachable."
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
lily-livered (adj.)
"cowardly," 1605, in "Macbeth;" from lily (in its color sense of "pale, bloodless") + liver (n.1), which was a supposed seat of love and passion. A healthy liver is typically dark reddish-brown. Other similar expressions: lily-handed "having white, delicate hands," lily-faced "pale-faced; affectedly modest or sensitive."
Related entries & more 
lazar (n.)
"filthy beggar, leper," c. 1300, from Medieval Latin lazarus "leper," from Lazarus (q.v.), the name of the beggar in the biblical parable. Sometimes also lazard, with pejorative suffix.
Related entries & more 
crinoid (adj.)

type of stalked echinoderm found in Paleozoic fossils and, living, at great depths in the sea, 1847, from Latinized form of Greek krinoeides "lily-like," from krinon "lily" (a foreign word of unknown origin) + -oeides "like" (see -oid). So called from their resemblance to a lily or tulip. The word is attested as an adjective in English, "lily-shaped," from 1836. Related: Crinoidal.

Related entries & more 
calla (n.)
marsh-plant found in colder parts of Europe and America, 1789, from Latin calla, the name in Pliny of an unidentified plant, perhaps a mistake for calyx. The common calla-lily (1805) is a related species, not a lily but so called for the appearance of the flowers.
Related entries & more 
Susanna 
also Susannah, fem. proper name, from Latin Susanna, from Greek Sousanna, from Hebrew Shoshannah, literally "a lily." One of the women that attended Jesus in his journeys. Greek also borrowed the Semitic word in its literal sense as souson "lily."
Related entries & more