chill·​ing ˈchi-liŋ How to pronounce chilling (audio)
: gravely disturbing or frightening
a chilling case of abuse
chillingly adverb

Examples of chilling in a Sentence

a Southern visitor who was unused to the chilling air of a Northeast winter
Recent Examples on the Web In actual practice, Chloe Guidry and Izzy G. steal the show, along with other stuff, in performances that range from uncomfortable bad-girl posing to chilling, casual cruelty — Izzy G.’s character in particular. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 16 Apr. 2024 Daniel Wong's involvement in Jennifer Pan's plot to murder her parents is covered in Netflix's documentary 'What Jennifer Did' Jennifer Pan and Daniel Wong are in the headlines yet again as Netflix revisits their chilling murder plot in What Jennifer Did. Kelsie Gibson, Peoplemag, 15 Apr. 2024 The chilling line came from a 1902 letter written by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to a school superintendent in California about the need to assimilate Native students returning home from boarding schools. Jillian Steinhauer, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2024 The movie’s most chilling sequence—in a nicely demented touch, Jesse Plemons, Dunst’s offscreen husband, pops up as a murderous psychopath—is also its most dubiously contrived. Justin Chang, The New Yorker, 12 Apr. 2024 Marshall Weinbaum, a 17-year veteran of Disney’s PR department, was the mastermind behind what might be the most chilling press campaign since those missing person posters went up at Sundance for The Blair Witch Project. Benjamin Svetkey, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Apr. 2024 The First Omen, a chilling prequel to the 1976 horror classic The Omen, brought sinister nuns back to the box office only two weeks after Immaculate premiered. Shania Russell,, 7 Apr. 2024 Bobby Singh, a local activist and Sacramento State student who was close to Nijjar, received a chilling death threat days after the Sikh leader was killed. Joe Rubin, Sacramento Bee, 2 Apr. 2024 Separately, a chilling recent report in Sky News Arabia detailed how in the capital, Khartoum, protracted, grueling urban warfare has led to a spike in the migration of European vultures and a boom in the population of stray dogs, all drawn to the city’s carrion. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chilling.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1815, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chilling was in 1815

Dictionary Entries Near chilling

Cite this Entry

“Chilling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


chill·​ing ˈchil-iŋ How to pronounce chilling (audio)
: very disturbing or frightening
a chilling case of abuse
chillingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on chilling

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