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

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 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 What results is sort of the silly season of stories. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 12 Jan. 2022 Despite that silly season smoke there does not seem to be a fire inside the Smoothie King Center locker room. Christopher Dodson, Forbes, 10 June 2021 That was before the prolonged silly season of rumors, potential trades, and speculation misdirected us from such a logical choice., 30 Apr. 2021 This is all part of NFL Draft silly season, and San Francisco appears to be at the forefront of it. Vincent Frank, Forbes, 6 Apr. 2021 Other times, the silly season makes perfect sense, and that can be especially maddening for fan bases (and athletic directors) with a coach whose name pops up in the rumor mill. Star Tribune, 25 Jan. 2021 The arrival of the NBA playoffs, of course, means it’s almost silly season in the league ... and fans will soon be tantalized with trade rumors and free agent dreams. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, 1 Sep. 2020 But this is a warning that these guys aren’t going to help much during the NFL silly season, of which looming free agency and planning for the draft are primary components. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, 26 Feb. 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of silly season

1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About silly season

Time Traveler for silly season

Time Traveler

The first known use of silly season was in 1861

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About silly season

Dictionary Entries Near silly season


silly season


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for silly season

Last Updated

19 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Silly season.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!