silly season


: a period (such as late summer) when the mass media often focus on trivial or frivolous matters for lack of major news stories
: a period marked by frivolous, outlandish, or illogical activity or behavior

Did you know?

Silly season was coined in the 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 This is college basketball’s silly season, with players jumping to greener pastures, literally, amid NIL gone wild and a federal court injunction temporarily blocking NCAA limitations on multiple transfers. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Mar. 2024 However, the driver market – often referred to as ‘silly season’ by F1 fans – for the 2025 season may make up for that. Sam Joseph, CNN, 29 Feb. 2024 And yet reporters and pundits, desperate for drama in this silly season of politics, are beginning to convince themselves that Kennedy has the makings of a serious candidate. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 26 June 2023 Who crowd, Truth Seekers is a gentle, silly season of paranormal hijinks. WIRED, 16 Jan. 2023 Now, here and everywhere else, silly season is a thing of the past. Holly Thomas, CNN, 10 Sep. 2022 But this year, political silly season has started early, and the swirl of rumor has been especially intense. Eva Dou, Washington Post, 9 June 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'silly season.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of silly season was in 1861


Dictionary Entries Near silly season

Cite this Entry

“Silly season.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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