chill·​ing | \ ˈchi-liŋ How to pronounce chilling (audio) \

Definition of chilling

: gravely disturbing or frightening a chilling case of abuse

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from chilling

chillingly \ ˈchi-​liŋ-​lē How to pronounce chillingly (audio) \ 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 That law has already had a major chilling effect, and may have stopped the city's protest movement in its tracks. James Griffiths, CNN, "Hong Kong is setting up an election without a real opposition," 31 July 2020 But even just threatening to leave the WHO casts a chilling effect on the public health community, Kachur says. Amy Mckeever, National Geographic, "Here's what we'll lose if the U.S. cuts ties with the WHO," 10 July 2020 In his director’s statement, Miles offers a chilling description of what happened next. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "Dallas filmmaker’s ‘Miracle Fishing’ tells an incredible story of his father’s kidnapping," 9 July 2020 Left hanging in the balance are the millions of people who call Hong Kong home, where the new national security law is already having a chilling effect. Louise Matsakis, Wired, "Hong Kong's Security Law Puts Big Tech at a Crossroads," 8 July 2020 Sofie, meanwhile, has found herself at the center after fleeing a cult (ran by Dominic West and Cate Blanchett, who give chilling supporting performances). Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Netflix's Stateless Is Tough But Necessary Viewing," 8 July 2020 April’s Wisconsin primary already offered a chilling look at what happens when going to the polls runs into a pandemic. Jim Shultz, The New York Review of Books, "One Small Vote for Lockport, NY, One Giant Lesson for 2020 America," 7 July 2020 In overburdened intensive-care units, delirious patients are seeing chilling hallucinations. Jacob Stern, The Atlantic, "This Is Not a Normal Mental-Health Disaster," 7 July 2020 Devs — whose excellent cast includes Sonoya Mizuno, Alison Pill, Zach Grenier, and Jin Ha — is a dreamy murder-mystery, a wrenching tale of romance on the run, a twisty spy saga, a chilling sci-fi cautionary tale about AI. Kristen Baldwin,, "The best TV shows of 2020… so far," 1 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chilling.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of chilling

1815, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chilling

Time Traveler for chilling

Time Traveler

The first known use of chilling was in 1815

See more words from the same year

Statistics for chilling

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chilling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for chilling


How to pronounce chilling (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of chilling

: very disturbing or frightening


chill·​ing | \ ˈchi-liŋ How to pronounce chilling (audio) \

Kids Definition of chilling

: very upsetting or frightening But nearly every book mentioned one chilling story …— Ann M. Martin, Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on chilling

What made you want to look up chilling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

July 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • papercraft sunset
  • Which is a synonym of mien?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!