\ 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 Tickets then become ballots to vote for your favorite chili, which will be announced at the start of Sunday’s festivities, Johnson said. S. Wayne Carter Jr.,, "Twice-canceled Havre de Grace Ice Festival featuring ‘Fairy Tales & Fantasy’ is on for weekend of March 13-14," 4 Mar. 2021 After none of the friends can smell or taste the chili prepared by the host (played by Beck Bennett), Kate McKinnon as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, makes an appearance. Shannon Larson,, "‘Schitt’s Creek’ star Dan Levy hosted ‘SNL.’ From sketches involving a Super Bowl party to browsing Zillow, watch them here," 7 Feb. 2021 There will always be the great debate: beans or no beans in your chili. Karen Martin,, "This chili is just what you need for Super Bowl Sunday," 3 Feb. 2021 The menu offers wings in varying levels of heat and in 17 different flavors, including Thai chili, Jamaican jerk and garlic parmesan. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, "Atlanta burger chain WNB Factory opens shop in Irving," 20 Jan. 2021 The factory is owned by a company called Laoganma, which makes a piquant chili-and-soybean sauce famous across China for its power to set mouths watering. New York Times, "Blue-Collar Boom: How China Bounced Back From the Virus," 15 Jan. 2021 Of course a vinegary chili-tahini sauce is the perfect match for kale and white beans! Washington Post, "Our favorite cookbooks of 2020," 9 Dec. 2020 The lingering smell of a slow-simmered batch of chili in the house might be the best thing outside of eating a bowl. Chuck Blount,, "Chuck’s Food Shack: Chili season is here, and here are three versions of the Texas classic," 9 Nov. 2020 Earthy sweet potatoes add depth to this vegetarian chili. Ben Fogel, Sunset Magazine, "Great Chili Recipes for Both Meat Lovers and Vegetarians," 5 Nov. 2020

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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Last Updated

12 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chili.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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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

Comments on chili

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