\ ˈchi-lē \
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 \

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

Add the red chili pepper flakes and garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Kim Walker, Woman's Day, "Desperation Dinners: Shrimp Scampi," 14 July 2010 Add the garlic, then stir in the tomato paste and chili pepper; sprinkle with pepper and thyme or sage. Bethany Jean Clement, The Seattle Times, "Taking stock: The story of an accidental, excellent post-Thanksgiving recipe," 14 Nov. 2018 Take chili peppers, which contain a compound called capsaicin. Abby Langer, SELF, "5 Diet Tips You Should Ignore, According to a Registered Dietitian," 6 Sep. 2018 Crowds flocked to Main Street in Huntington Beach on Saturday to sample a variety of chili and salsa at the annual Chili at the Beach. Daily Pilot Staff,, "Chili and salsa samples spice things up in Huntington Beach," 16 June 2018 Cowboy beans, on the other hand, walk hand-in-hand with barbecue’s ranch-style roots, as does a chili that Texans would be proud to claim, a deep bowl of red packed with meat from across the menu. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: Love or something like it at Texas 46 BBQ," 31 May 2018 Neighboring Bite Cafe will sell the champion chili from last weekend's Chili-Synth Cook Off outside, with all proceeds going to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Do This / Music Music Frozen Dancing is the only festival where you can see Oh Sees in the snow," 16 Feb. 2018 Take your gathering to the next level: Win the host-of-the-year award by warming up your guests as well, with hot drinks, a Crockpot of chili, and a fire in the fireplace. Shelby Deering, Country Living, "5 Party Ideas That Give Back to Your Community," 1 Nov. 2018 The immediate calendar includes a Feb. 2 show by Machine Head, a chili cook-off and a tribute to Daft Punk on Feb. 3, a Super Bowl party on Feb. 4 and a Feb. 6 concert by John Moreland. Mary Colurso,, "They Might Be Giants show moved to Iron City after fire at Saturn in Birmingham," 30 Jan. 2018

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

18 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chili

The first known use of chili was in 1604

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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

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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

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