from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various shrubs of the genus Syringa, especially S. vulgaris, widely cultivated for its clusters of fragrant purplish or white flowers.
  • n. A pale to light or moderate purple.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large shrub of the genus Syringa, bearing white, pale pink or purple flowers.
  • n. Lilac flowers.
  • n. A pale purple colour, the colour of some lilac flowers.
  • adj. having a pale purple colour.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A shrub of the genus Syringa. There are six species, natives of Europe and Asia. Syringa vulgaris, the common lilac, and Syringa Persica, the Persian lilac, are frequently cultivated for the fragrance and beauty of their purplish or white flowers. In the British colonies various other shrubs have this name.
  • n. A light purplish color like that of the flower of the purplish lilac.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A shrub of the genus Syringa. See Syringa.
  • n. The color of the common lilac-blossom; a pale-purple color. A color-disk composed of one half artificial ultramarine, one sixth Chinese vermilion, and one third white will give a lilac.
  • Of the light-purple color of the flower of the common lilac.
  • n. A fanciers' name for a peculiar bluish-gray color shown in the coats of some domesticated mice.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of a pale purple color
  • n. any of various plants of the genus Syringa having large panicles of usually fragrant flowers


Obsolete French, from Arabic līlak, from Middle Persian nīlak, from nīl, indigo, from Sanskrit nīlī, from nīla-, dark blue.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Arabic ليلك (līlak), from Persian نیلک (nilak), from نیل (nil, "dark blue"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Who thought of the lilac?
    'I,' dew said,
    'I made up the lilac,
    out of my head.'

    'She made up the lilac!
    Pooh!' thrilled a linnet,
    and each dew-note had a
    lilac in it.

    - Humbert Wolfe, 'The Lilac'.

    November 12, 2008

  • my username: from Barenaked Ladies' "Lilac Girl".

    February 23, 2007