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 silly (audio) \ adverb
silliness \ ˈsi-​lē-​nəs How to pronounce silly (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 April Fools’ Day can elicit mixed emotions; some find the tricks silly and ridiculous. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: How do air fryers work?," 1 Apr. 2021 Green Lantern is earnest and bright and, yeah, incredibly silly and a little embarrassing. Tim Grierson, Vulture, "Every DC Comics Movie, Ranked," 22 Mar. 2021 This is often exciting, exuberant, silly and beautiful, but also is sometimes this is heartbreaking and painful. Andy Robertson, Forbes, "‘Bird Alone’ Is Getting Heartbreaking Reviews On The App Store, But That’s A Good Thing," 17 Mar. 2021 With endless Zoom meetings and a long list of to-dos, dressing up for 15 minutes of webcam interaction can seem silly and unnecessary. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Want to Upgrade Your WFH Style This Fall? Look to These 6 Stylish On-Screen Characters," 2 Oct. 2020 That seems like a silly and unnecessary shell game. Star Tribune, "Rashod Bateman deserves a chance to return to the Gophers, NCAA," 23 Sep. 2020 The idea that the mRNA is going to hijack or change your genetic material is pretty silly. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Comparing the COVID-19 vaccines: If you have a choice, which one should you get?," 26 Mar. 2021 People are following conspiracy theories that are just silly. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, "Q&A: The President of Black Hills Ammunition on Making Ammo for the Military, Price Gouging, Shortage Conspiracies, and More," 16 Mar. 2021 Changing silverware for each course didn’t feel silly. Joel Stein, Town & Country, "American Airlines is Selling Its First-Class Wine Selection. We Tried it Out.," 3 Mar. 2021

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

19 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Silly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/silly. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for silly

Nglish: Translation of silly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of silly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on silly

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