silly

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

Definition of silly

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 archaic : helpless, weak
2a : rustic, plain
b obsolete : lowly in station : humble
3a : weak in intellect : foolish
b : exhibiting or indicative of a lack of common sense or sound judgment a very silly mistake
4 : being stunned or dazed scared silly knocked me silly

silly

adverb

Definition of silly (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : 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
2 informal : to an extreme degree was scared silly bored silly

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

Yeah, there were a lot of scenes in that film ... ... Or predatory or silly, but always dead in the end, and tragic. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: ‘Dear America’ author Jose Antonio Vargas on Recode Decode," 24 Nov. 2018 Fake scandals, #fakenews: Each treatment, on its own, is silly, to the point that either would seem unworthy of much attention. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Brett Kavanaugh, Jim Jordan, and the Fog of the Partisan," 13 July 2018 The idea that Jordan never got tired is just silly, and a quick Google search proves this. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "Yes, Michael Jordan also got tired sometimes," 4 June 2018 The silly pose is actually really flattering, and still feels flirty without feeling try-hard. 2. Seventeen, "The 13 Types of Selfies That Are All Over Instagram," 11 Jan. 2019 His 3-point shooting this season is silly even by Stephen Curry’s standards. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "James Harden Is the Outlier of the NBA," 9 Jan. 2019 The book drives home the simple lesson: kids should dream big, even if others' silly ideas stand in the way. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Without question, these are 2018’s best space books for kids," 29 Dec. 2018 But that, too, is an important piece of guidance: San Franciscans used to have the energy to push against every incident, no matter how seemingly small and silly. Caille Millner, San Francisco Chronicle, "It’s time for Oakland to fight for its soul," 14 June 2018 But in ways small and large, silly and heartbreakingly earnest, simple and profound, this class changed the conversation at Yale. Susan Svrluga, Washington Post, "Less cramming. More Frisbee. At Yale, students learn how to live the good life," 12 May 2018

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 1

Adverb

1731, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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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Statistics for silly

Last Updated

8 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for silly

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

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More Definitions for silly

silly

adjective

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with silly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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