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

Yes, the premise has always been a little silly: a cherubic ginger doll is possessed by the soul of a serial killer. Jennifer M. Wood, WIRED, "Horror for Dummies: The 9 Best Killer Doll Movies to Stream Right Now," 28 June 2019 The silly name was chosen by the British public in 2016 for a new research vessel, but it was instead bestowed on a smaller submarine Boaty McBoatface may have started as a joke, but its latest findings are no laughing matter. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "Boaty McBoatface, an Actual British Research Submarine, Makes Surprising Climate Change Discovery," 19 June 2019 While on the balcony, everyone missed Camilla Parker Bowles being silly with the young prince. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "See Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Louis Share a Goofy Moment Together at Trooping the Colour," 10 June 2019 Vonk has done a similar, anecdotal experiment with her own cats, in which her husband says all sorts of silly names in a sing-song voice to see if the pets respond. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, "Cats know their names—why it's harder for them than dogs," 4 Apr. 2019 The Cold War saw numerous oddball inventions of lethal intent, but leave it to the British to slap one with a silly name. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Britain Built a Nuclear Land Mine and Almost Used Chickens To Detonate It," 21 Dec. 2018 Dimmers are supported with an easy-to-operate circular slider UI, and RGB light bulbs get a fun color swatch UI with silly color names. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google Home Hub review—Awesome hardware for Google’s nascent smart display software," 22 Oct. 2018 Go90, which launched back n 2015, suffered from a silly name and anemic viewership rates across the board, and none of its original video programming ever really caught on. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Verizon is shutting down its original video app Go90," 28 June 2018 Beyond the silly lifestyle-style stuff, much of the subject matter explored here is far too meaty to be skimmed. Washington Post, "Do millennial women really need the book ‘How to Skimm Your Life’? Give us more credit.," 25 June 2019

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

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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