\ 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 Spicy-sweet chili and chopped veggies here have a home in crunchy purple cabbage. Kari Sonde, Washington Post, "Lettuce, collards, cabbage and chard are the unsung heroes of the wrap," 8 June 2020 At home that night in Finneytown, on the order of 10-year-old grandson Aiden, Pilder’s first meal was a bowl of Skyline chili and a cheese coney. Anne Saker,, "Coronavirus in Ohio: How a team, some luck and 46 days made Dan Pilder a COVID-19 survivor," 8 May 2020 Ground chicken mixed with a sweet stir fry sauce, a punch amount of bird's eye chili, and garlic and a fried egg on top. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "51 International Recipes We're Tackling During Quarantine," 7 May 2020 Take crab Rangoon, those deep-fried dumplings stuffed with crab, cream cheese, and dashes of chili and HP sauces. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 18 Mar. 2020 There’s a Chocolate negroni, a negroni Sbagliato (or, a negroni with a splash of prosecco) and even a negroni with banana, pineapple, chili, and sesame. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "This Is Officially the Best Bar in the World," 4 Oct. 2019 In a place where many people don’t have refrigeration, food here is traditionally rich with plenty of chili peppers and spices that preserve the meat. National Geographic, "Gordon Ramsay Explores Rugged West Sumatra," 20 May 2020 These Asaro olives hail directly from Sicily and are marinated in garlic, chili pepper, oregano, and sea salt. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "Everything You Need to Recreate Italy in Your Kitchen," 22 Apr. 2020 With a few chili pepper lights, your living room can become its own sort of nightclub, with bottle service. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "Celebrating Literature’s Slacker Heroes, Lunch-Cancelers and Liers-In," 20 Apr. 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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Time Traveler for chili

Time Traveler

The first known use of chili was in 1604

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Statistics for chili

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chili.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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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

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