silly

adjective
sil·​ly | \ ˈsi-lē How to pronounce silly (audio) \
sillier; silliest

Definition of silly

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : exhibiting or indicative of a lack of common sense or sound judgment a very silly mistake
b : weak in intellect acting like a silly fool
c : playfully lighthearted and amusing a silly sense of humor
d : trifling, frivolous a silly waste of time
2 : being stunned or dazed scared silly knocked me silly
3a archaic : rustic, plain The silly buckets on the deck,/That had so long remained,/I dreamt that they were filled with dew;/And when I awoke, it rained.— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
b obsolete : lowly in station : humble
4 archaic : helpless, weak

silly

adverb

Definition of silly (Entry 2 of 3)

1 informal : to an extreme degree was scared silly bored silly
2 : in a silly manner : in an absurd or ridiculous way talking/behaving silly Benny Hill just walked silly, period, usually at high speed, to the accompaniment of cheesy pop music …— Charles Isherwood

silly

noun
plural sillies

Definition of silly (Entry 3 of 3)

: one who is silly : a foolish person "But there," she told herself, "I am very likely a silly—meeting trouble half-way."— D. H. Lawrence "Well then, silly, why not stay!"— Edna Ferber "And who, then? Oh, the long line of sillies, light-weights, rakes, ne'er-do-wells, who … constituted society."— Theodore Dreiser When the narrator describes women directly they seem … innately either sentimental sillies … or … pious hypocrites.— Myra Jehlen

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Other Words from silly

Adjective

sillily \ ˈsi-​lə-​lē How to pronounce sillily (audio) \ adverb
silliness \ ˈsi-​lē-​nəs How to pronounce silliness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for silly

Adjective

simple, foolish, silly, fatuous, asinine mean actually or apparently deficient in intelligence. simple implies a degree of intelligence inadequate to cope with anything complex or involving mental effort. considered people simple who had trouble with computers foolish implies the character of being or seeming unable to use judgment, discretion, or good sense. foolish stunts silly suggests failure to act as a rational being especially by ridiculous behavior. the silly antics of revelers fatuous implies foolishness, inanity, and disregard of reality. fatuous conspiracy theories asinine suggests utter and contemptible failure to use normal rationality or perception. an asinine plot

Examples of silly in a Sentence

Adjective I hope I didn't make any silly mistakes. The idea does seem a bit silly. That's the silliest thing I've ever heard. You drove in this weather? What a silly thing to do! Silly me. I locked myself out of the car again. Ask a silly question, and you get a silly answer. “I can't ask you to do that.” “Don't be silly. It is my pleasure.” What a silly little purse. It looks too small to hold everything that I'd need to carry. I'm tired of watching silly movies. The book was a silly waste of time.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Strangely, the character who fares best is Pepe the King Prawn: minor comic relief in past Muppets projects, who brings just the right amount of chaos to a silly game-show segment. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Review: 'Muppets Now' on Disney+ is an occasionally inspired but mostly charmless reboot," 1 Aug. 2020 Antetokounmpo lingered under the basket to defend Theis, picking up a cheap, silly foul -- his fifth. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks 119, Celtics 112: After a close call, Milwaukee is back to its winning ways," 31 July 2020 For the annual winter event, people dressed in costumes, often silly and wacky, headed to Belle Isle to take a dip in the chilly Detroit River. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "John Thompson, former owner of Detroit's Honest John's bar, has died," 30 July 2020 When the news—hectic and loud and silly and messy and urgent and teeming with life—fades away? Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The National Emergency at Your Doorstep," 11 July 2020 For preschoolers, use school pictures or a silly selfie next to each family member’s name to label hooks and bins. Megan Boettcher, Better Homes & Gardens, "7 Easy Ways to Organize Your Mudroom to Get Ready for School," 7 July 2020 Most of the stories are silly, some are sad and none are focused on the plague. New York Times, "CoLM toibin," 8 July 2020 Another welcome departure from the comics: the nuns actually dress modestly, like nuns, rather than the silly cleavage-centric habits and loin cloths worn by the nuns in Dunn's earlier comics. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Fierce and fun Warrior Nun is a perfect Fourth of July binge-watch," 3 July 2020 As a result, reduplicative words can sound childish or silly. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, "Super-duper reduplicative words," 2 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'silly.' 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 silly

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Adverb

1731, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1560, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for silly

Adjective

Middle English sely, silly happy, innocent, pitiable, feeble, from Old English sǣlig, from sǣl happiness; akin to Old High German sālig happy

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Time Traveler for silly

Time Traveler

The first known use of silly was in the 15th century

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Statistics for silly

Last Updated

4 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Silly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/silly. Accessed 4 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for silly

silly

adjective
How to pronounce silly (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of silly

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: having or showing a lack of thought, understanding, or good judgment : foolish or stupid
: not practical or sensible
: not serious, meaningful, or important

silly

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of silly (Entry 2 of 3)

informal : to an extreme degree

silly

noun

English Language Learners Definition of silly (Entry 3 of 3)

informal used to address someone who is being silly

silly

adjective
sil·​ly | \ ˈsi-lē How to pronounce silly (audio) \
sillier; silliest

Kids Definition of silly

1 : having or showing a lack of common sense : foolish Silly me! I forgot again. What a silly mistake!
2 : not serious or important a silly reason
3 : playful and lighthearted silly jokes

Other Words from silly

silliness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on silly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for silly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with silly

Spanish Central: Translation of silly

Nglish: Translation of silly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of silly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on silly

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