\ ˈchi-lē How to pronounce chili (audio) \
variants: or less commonly or chiefly British chilli
plural chilies also chiles or chilis or chiefly British chillies

Definition of chili

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a hot pepper of any of a group of cultivars (Capsicum annuum annuum group longum) noted for their pungency

called also chili pepper

b chiefly British chilli : a pepper whether hot or sweet
2a : a thick sauce of meat and chilies liked to cover her spaghetti with red chili
b : chili con carne a bowl of chili also : a similar dish made without beef vegetarian chili seafood chili


geographical name
\ ˈchi-lē How to pronounce Chili (audio) \

Definition of Chili (Entry 2 of 2)

former, especially British name for Chile or for the once poorly defined Andes border region between Chile and Argentina

Examples of chili in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This dish of ground pork seasoned with lime, chili and mint somehow fell flat, despite the fresh ingredients called upon. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "This Thai restaurant excels with top-notch curries and fiery homemade hot sauce," 6 Nov. 2019 Find craft beer, wine, seasonal cocktails, and comfort food like butternut turkey chili and pressed sandwiches on housemade focaccia in a country lodge setting with multiple fire pits and plenty of roomy Adirondack chairs., "richard allen for the boston globe," 1 Nov. 2019 Luxe accouterments like lobster, scallops, free-range bison chili and — as flaunted in the Gold Digga — Berkshire roast pork and black truffles up the ante. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "This Canadian restaurant will bring breakfast poutine to Scottsdale. Here's what to expect," 18 Oct. 2019 Cooked with chili and topped with fresh parsley, the heaping meal seemed to disappear in mere moments. Liza Weisstuch,, "Getting a taste of Singapore’s famously flavorful street food," 14 Oct. 2019 In a small bowl stir together the crema, chipotle chili and lime juice. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "5 Recipes You Need To Make This Weekend Before Summer Ends," 20 Sep. 2019 The first game of the NFL season was marked by Ryan's favorite spread, a concoction of nachos, cheese, chili and smokies loaded with brown sugar. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "'I thought I'd be ready': Father mourns son's death 10 years after attack put him in coma," 14 Sep. 2019 The nickname spurred the invention of the Boomstick hot dog, a two-foot monstrosity served with chili and nacho cheese. Betsy Helfand, Twin Cities, "From “Garv Sauce” to “Boomstick,” the meaning behind Twins’ Players’ Weekend names," 22 Aug. 2019 Watson also joined students in the cafeteria to enjoy Spring ISD Chef Gerry UpdeGraff’s new culinary creations, such as Texas chili and Rainbow Salad. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Superintendent’s 1st-day-of-school tour highlights new schools, programs in Spring ISD," 14 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chili.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chili


1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for chili


Spanish chile, from Nahuatl chīlli

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Statistics for chili

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for chili

The first known use of chili was in 1604

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More Definitions for chili


How to pronounce Chili (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of chili

: a small pepper with a very hot flavor
: a spicy dish made of ground beef, hot peppers or chili powder, and usually beans
: a similar dish made without meat


variants: also chile or chilli \ ˈchi-​lē \
plural chilies also chiles or chilis or chillies

Kids Definition of chili

1 : a small pepper with a very hot flavor
2 : a spicy stew of ground beef and chilies usually with beans

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More from Merriam-Webster on chili

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chili

Spanish Central: Translation of chili

Nglish: Translation of chili for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chili for Arabic Speakers

Comments on chili

What made you want to look up chili? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread as a report or rumor

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