What does the word «lily» mean?

Today the lily has a similar name in many languages. But this name comes from ancient Egypt and originally meant something else.
The word «lily» is derived from the ancient Greek «leírion», which etymologists ascribe to an ancient Egyptian word for «flower». Interestingly, related terms for flower also exist in the Hamitic languages (ilili) and in Basque (lili). One can only speculate why the Greeks derived the lily's name from the ancient Egyptian word for flower.
Perhaps because the Greeks first came across the lily in Ancient Egypt during the Greco-Roman era, and the name came about due to linguistic misunderstandings. Whatever the reasons, the lily has similar-sounding names in many languages: German (Lilie), Catalan (lliri), Spanish (lirio), French (lis), Italian (giglio) and Romansh (gilgia), for example.

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