AskDefine | Define gild

Dictionary Definition

gild n : a formal association of people with similar interests; "he joined a golf club"; "they formed a small lunch society"; "men from the fraternal order will staff the soup kitchen today" [syn: club, society, guild, lodge, order] v : decorate with, or as if with, gold leaf or liquid gold [syn: begild, engild] [also: gilt]

User Contributed Dictionary





  1. To cover with a thin layer of gold; to cover with gold leaf.
  2. to adorn
  3. to make appear drunk

Related terms


To cover with a thin layer of gold
Translations to be checked

Extensive Definition

Gilding is the art of applying a thin layer of gold, simulated gold, or other metal to a surface. Products employed may be real gold leaf ranging in karats from 9 up to 24; imitation leaf--composition gold, Dutch metal leaf, aluminum leaf, copper leaf; variegated leaf, mica powders; etc.

Ancient practice

According to Herodotus, the Egyptians were accustomed to gilding wood and metals; and gilding by means of gold plates is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. Certain statues of great prestige were chryselephantine, i.e. made of gold-plated wood (for the clothing) and ivory (for the flesh); most famously those of Zeus in Olympia and Athena Parthenos in the Parthenon. Extensive ornamental gilding was also used in the ceiling coffers of the Propylaea. Pliny the Elder informs us that the first gilding seen at Rome was after the destruction of Carthage, under the censorship of Lucius Mummius, when the Romans began to gild the ceilings of their temples and palaces, the Capitol being the first place on which this process was used. But he adds that luxury advanced on them so rapidly that in very little time you might see all, even private and poor people, gild the walls, vaults, and other parts of their dwellings. Owing to the comparative thickness of the gold leaf used in ancient gilding, the traces of it which yet remain are remarkably brilliant and solid.
Gilding has in all times occupied an important place in the ornamental arts of Oriental countries; and the native processes pursued in India at the present day may be taken as typical of the arts as practised from the earliest periods.

Modern gilding processes


Further reading

  • Shretha, Sukra Sagar. "Gold Gilding (A Traditional Craft in Kathmandu Valley)." Ancient Nepal - Journal of the Department of Archeology, Number 128-129, February-May 192, pp. 5-9. [A fascinating and detailed account of the complex traditional techniques of fire-gilding in Nepal.]
gild in German: Vergolden
gild in French: Dorure
gild in Italian: Foglia oro
gild in Dutch: Vergulden
gild in Japanese: めっき
gild in Polish: Pozłotnictwo
gild in Slovenian: Pozlatitev
gild in Swedish: Förgyllning

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adorn, apply paint, aurify, bedaub, belie, besmear, brighten, brush on paint, butter, calcimine, camouflage, coat, color, complexion, convolute, cover, dab, daub, decorate, deep-dye, dip, disguise, distemper, distort, double-dye, dress up, dye, elaborate, embellish, emblazon, embroider, enamel, engild, enrich, face, falsify, fast-dye, festoon, flourish, fresco, fudge, garble, gild the lily, glaze, gloss, gloss over, grain, hue, illuminate, imbue, ingrain, involve, japan, jaundice, lacquer, lay on, lay on color, load with ornament, mask, miscite, miscolor, misquote, misreport, misrepresent, misstate, ornament, overcharge, overlay, overload, overstate, paint, parget, pervert, pigment, prime, sallow, shade, shadow, shellac, slant, slap on, slather, slop on paint, smear, smear on, spread on, spread with, stain, stipple, strain, sweeten, tar, tinct, tincture, tinge, tint, titivate, tone, trick out, turn yellow, twist, undercoat, understate, varnish, warp, wash, whitewash, yellow
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