1 (also sea squill) A coastal Mediterranean plant of the lily family, with broad leaves, white flowers, and a very large bulb.
- Drimia (or Urginea) maritima, family Liliaceae
- Large bulbs such as tulips and daffodils should be placed four to six inches apart while smaller bulbs such as crocus, snowdrops, and squill, should be placed one to two inches apart.
- ‘If one of us had a cough, Mam would send me to the chemist for a ‘shilling mix’ (bring your own bottle), which consisted of three-penny-worth each of glycerine, syrup of squills, liquorice, and ipecac wine.
- Meanwhile, the island nation exported to America items such as olive oil, lemons, sulphur, ivory, salt, rags, goat skins, stoneware, soap, squills, sponges, and donkeys of the largest and most valuable race in the Mediterranean.
1.1 (also squills) [mass noun] An extract of the bulb of the squill, which is poisonous and has medicinal and other uses.
- Expectorants for example guaiphenesin, ammonium chloride, squill, sodium citrate and ipecacuanha may help chesty coughs.
- Some drug materials, e.g. garlic and squill, are extremely hygroscopic and in the presence of water tend to fuse into lumps which make them unsuitable for the percolation process.
- Vinegar flavoured with squill (also known as ‘sea onion’, Urginea maritima) was a favourite condiment.
2 [usually with modifier] A small plant of the lily family, which resembles a hyacinth and has slender strap-like leaves and small clusters of violet-blue or blue-striped flowers.
- Several species in the family Liliaceae: genus Scilla, including the spring squill (S. verna), and the striped squill (Puschkinia scilloides)
- Blue harebells and spring squill grew along the cliff path.
- Along with the various scillas, consideration must be given to the striped squills or Puschkinias.
- Blue is taken up by the spring squills, with their small, clear flowers surrounded by agitated leaves.
Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek skilla.
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