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 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, "The NBA’s great awakening, redoing Trail Blazers’ worst trade, Nuggets-Jazz Game 7, thanking Chris Paul: NBA news and notes," 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, "Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry, shared meals and the plan for the Cleveland Browns to win quiet," 26 Feb. 2020 The silly season is that part of the year when coaching rumors are flying around like Santa’s reindeer. Joseph Goodman |, al, "Bill Clark and Lane Kiffin would improve the SEC," 6 Dec. 2019 Coaching searches are the silly season of sports reporting. Mike Bianchi,, "Deion Sanders gets the media’s vote as next FSU head coach | Commentary," 6 Nov. 2019 In a showdown truly worthy of August’s silly season, Trump’s very briefly tenured communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, and the president and his allies have been involved in a fierce insult-fest. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 22 Aug. 2019 But with it, comes the actualisation of this silly season., "9 Premier League Signings That Are Definitely 100% Without a Doubt Going to Flop This Season," 20 Aug. 2019 After the way every possible permutation of this topic has been bandied about for the past month — such is the NBA silly season — the answers should not surprise anyone. Nick Talbot,, "Writers’ Roundtable: Are the Spurs still a playoff team after this offseason?," 20 July 2019 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

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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The first known use of silly season was in 1861

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Last Updated

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Silly season.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

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