\ 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 Her basil stir-fry, or pad kra rao gai, is made with fresh Thai chilies, Thai basil and a three-chili spice warning on the menu. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, 18 Jan. 2022 In fact, Tam made this chili for her family’s New Years Eve dinner. Kate Krader, Fortune, 15 Jan. 2022 Sundance ticket holders can also try a chili from the Foundry Grill, the resort’s farm-to-table location. Theadora Soter, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Nov. 2021 As Henry Ford Health System transitions to a new contributor for this column, enjoy this Healthy Table chili recipe from the Free Press archives. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, 17 Oct. 2021 Options include a lightly spicy Calabrian chili ravioli; a Bolognese made with wild boar; and pappardelle with cacio e pepe cream and mushrooms. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 3 Oct. 2021 The veggie chili has discernable chunks of vegetables and beans. Jenn Harris Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 12 Sep. 2021 Don’t miss the elegant bar cart that comes to your table and presents oysters, caviar and shellfish, along with assorted sauces like a Calabrian chili crunch. Shivani Vora, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 Kevin from The Office probably couldn’t have used one after spilling his chili. Maren Estrada, BGR, 7 Sep. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near chili

Chile saltpeter



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Statistics for chili

Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Chili.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for chili



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

More from Merriam-Webster on chili

Nglish: Translation of chili for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chili for Arabic Speakers


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