gel·​id ˈje-ləd How to pronounce gelid (audio)
: extremely cold : icy
gelid water
a man of gelid reserveNew Yorker
gelidity noun
gelidly adverb

Did you know?

Gelid first appeared in English late in the 16th century, coming to our language from Latin gelidus, which ultimately derives from the noun gelu, meaning "frost" or "cold." (The noun gelatin, which can refer to an edible jelly that undergoes a cooling process as part of its formation, comes from a related Latin word: gelare, meaning "to freeze.") Gelid is used to describe anything of extremely cold temperature (as in "the gelid waters of the Arctic Ocean"), but the word can also be used figuratively to describe a person with a cold demeanor (as in "the criminal's gelid stare").

Examples of gelid in a Sentence

the Titanic passengers could not long survive the gelid waters of the North Atlantic the judge listened with the gelid detachment of someone who had heard it all before
Recent Examples on the Web Moss brought an uncanny, even creepy quality to the character which added to the show’s gelid mystique. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 29 Apr. 2022 Instead, most of its plasma comes from icy volcanism on Enceladus, a gelid moon that erupts water-ice slush from deep crevasses around its south pole. Robin Andrews, Wired, 22 Feb. 2022 Settings range globally without fanfare, as do Krauss’s gelid portraits of modern arrangements. Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2020 Admittedly, former commercials director Niccol is terrific at composing looks; however, an assemblage of glossy, gelid sequences does not necessarily add up to a satisfying cohesive film. Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Oct. 2019 Ungainly in looks, but a natural for work — each hoof a snowshoe, with hollow fur for warmth and to buoy them across gelid Arctic rivers. Christopher Solomon, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2019 But other ailments that are either directly or tangentially related to the gelid weather have multiplied. John Benson,, 4 Jan. 2018 See More

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

Word History


Latin gelidus, from gelu frost, cold — more at cold

First Known Use

1599, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gelid was in 1599


Dictionary Entries Near gelid

Cite this Entry

“Gelid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

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