Alteration (influenced by flower) of Middle English gilofrefrom Old French gilofre, girofleclovefrom Late Latin gariofilumfrom Greek karuophullonkaruonnutkar- in Indo-European roots phullonleafbhel-3 in Indo-European roots
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
By folk etymology, with influence from flower, from Frenchgirofle, gilofre, from Late Latin caryophyllum, from Ancient Greek καρυοφυλλον (karyophyllon, “dried flower buds of the clove tree").
Gillyflower Sentence Examples
The gillyflower of Chaucer and Spenser and Shakespeare was, as in Italy, Dianthus Caryophyllus; that of later writers and of gardeners, Matthiola.
The principal other plants which bear the name are the wallflower, Cheiranthus Cheiri, called wall-gillyflower in old books; the dame's violet, Hesperis matronalis, called variously the queen's, the rogue's and the winter gillyflower; the ragged-robin, Lychnis Flos-cuculi, called marsh-gillyflower and cuckoo-gillyflower; the waterviolet, Hottonia palustris, called water-gillyflower; and the thrift, Armeria vulgaris, called sea-gillyflower.