Jilt vs gilt

Jilt and gilt are two words that are close in pronunciation and spelling, and are sometimes confused. We will examine the difference between the words jilt and gilt, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Jilt means to reject someone that you are in a romantic relationship with, to abandon a romantic partner. Increasingly the word jilt is used to mean one party breaking up a relationship with another, such as an athlete leaving a team.  Jilt is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are jilts, jilted, jilting. The origin of the word jilt is unknown, though it may be derived from the Middle English word gille, a negative term for a young woman.

Gilt refers to something covered in gold, whether gold leaf or gold paint. Gilt means gilded. Gilt may be used as an adjective or noun. Gilt is derived from the past participle of the Middle English word gilden. Gilt may also refer to a young female pig, or gilts, fixed-interest loan securities secured by the British government.


Alleway, however, can’t bring herself to jilt either party: it’s 50-50. (The Irish Times)

Kylie Minogue’s former fiance Joshua Sasse has reportedly been jilted by his new bride, days before they were scheduled to marry in a private ceremony in his Shropshire hometown. (The Daily Mail)

The play has only one set—two gilt-edged mirrors, a scattering of gilt chairs—and only six characters. (The New Yorker)

Stylish and tastefully appointed, with tufted banquettes, modern gilt pendant lamps and a cozy fireplace, Ella Elli in the Southport Corridor is the perfect neighborhood spot to nuzzle up to your sweetie. (The Chicago Tribune)

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