silly season


Definition of silly season 

1 : a period (such as late summer) when the mass media often focus on trivial or frivolous matters for lack of major news stories

2 : a period marked by frivolous, outlandish, or illogical activity or behavior

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Did You Know?

Silly season was coined in the mid-19th century to describe the time when journalists face a bit of a conundrum: Washington is on summer break and European governments are on vacation, but the columns of space newspapers typically devote to politics must still be filled - hence stories about beating the heat and how celebrities are also managing to do so. The idea is comical, really, since there's always something going on somewhere. P.G. Wodehouse understood the absurdity inherent in the term when he wrote in his 1909 comic novel, The Swoop! or How Clarence Saved English, "It was inevitable, in the height of the Silly Season, that such a topic as the simultaneous invasion of Great Britain by nine foreign powers should be seized upon by the press." Inevitable indeed.

Examples of silly season in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There is almost no way for this year’s silly season to match the madness of last year. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar midseason review, part III: What's still to come," 17 June 2018 Season 6 arrives, after the slow and often silly season 5, with the characters being moved to a maximum-security prison after that whole riot thing. Matthew Gilbert,, "What’s coming to TV this summer? Plenty.," 12 June 2018 The podcast won't stay weekly through the silly season. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "The Michigan Rant podcast: Answering your questions," 21 May 2018 All part of the equation in the NFL Draft silly season. Paul Dehner Jr.,, "BX: Why the Cincinnati Bengals have Louisville QB Lamar Jackson visiting," 16 Apr. 2018 After that, the silly season begins, with every politician focusing on the midterm elections. Alan S. Blinder, WSJ, "Pols Use Economics the Way Drunks Use Lampposts," 26 Mar. 2018 This is not so much a breakthrough as a slight crack in the paintwork, but at the height of silly season this is exactly the kind of seemingly insignificant (and probably, actually, insignificant) development that provokes widespread hysteria., "Alexis Sanchez Agent Sparks Twitter Frenzy With Latest 'Twist' in Transfer Saga," 12 Jan. 2018 With much of the field still unsettled, silly season will likely extend beyond this weekend. Jim Ayello, USA TODAY Sports, "Story lines to watch at IndyCar's championship at Sonoma Raceway," 16 Sep. 2017 With much of the field still unsettled, silly season will likely extend beyond Sonoma. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: 5 things I think as IndyCar heads toward finale at Sonoma," 15 Sep. 2017

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

1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

19 Oct 2018

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The first known use of silly season was in 1861

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something that serves to warn or remind

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