Definition of silly in English:


Syllabification: sil·ly
Pronunciation: /ˈsilē

adjective (sillier, silliest)

1Having or showing a lack of common sense or judgment; absurd and foolish: another of his silly jokes “Don’t be silly!” she said
More example sentences
  • It was silly, extremely foolish and childish of me.
  • Yes, it is all a bit familiar - but, sadly, nowhere near as delightfully absurd and unrepentantly silly as the Ghostbusters movies.
  • We are frail, we are human, we make mistakes, we do foolish things, silly things.
imprudent, thoughtless, rash, reckless, foolhardy, irresponsible;
mad, scatterbrained, featherbrained;
frivolous, giddy, vacuous, inane, immature, childish, puerile, empty-headed
dated tomfool
unwise, imprudent, thoughtless, foolish, stupid, idiotic, senseless, mindless;
rash, reckless, foolhardy, irresponsible, injudicious, misguided, irrational
informal crazy
1.1Ridiculously trivial or frivolous: he would brood about silly things
More example sentences
  • Brainball may seem like a ridiculously silly game, but it demonstrates how a machine can know something about your emotional state.
  • It's a deeply silly and trivial entertainment cheerfully devoid of any nutritional or calorific value whatever.
  • Ack, it sounds so silly and trivial now, but I was literally shaking with rage at the time.
1.2 [as complement] Used to convey that an activity or process has been engaged in to such a degree that someone is no longer capable of thinking or acting sensibly: he often drank himself silly his mother worried herself silly over him
More example sentences
  • But she still worried herself silly every time a visit was coming up.
  • He drank himself silly and had to take a cab home.
senseless, insensible, unconscious, stupid, into a stupor, into senselessness, stupefied
1.3 archaic (Especially of a woman, child, or animal) helpless; defenseless.
More example sentences
  • In many of the tales the fairies are tiny, silly, helpless creatures.
  • She is silly, helpless, Irish, very poor, and 28 years of age.

noun (plural sillies)

informal Back to top  
A foolish person (often used as a form of address): Come on, silly
More example sentences
  • Quit interrupting the news bulletin in that infuriating manner when you don't actually have any results at all to hand, sillies.
  • Then he says huitlacoche is corn fungus, not a nervous breakdown, sillies.
  • Apparently, 1/3 of American men have not had a checkup in the past year, you sillies.


late Middle English (in the sense 'deserving of pity or sympathy'): alteration of dialect seely 'happy', later 'innocent, feeble', from a West Germanic base meaning 'luck, happiness.' The sense 'foolish' developed via the stages 'feeble' and 'unsophisticated, ignorant'.


the silly season

High summer, regarded as the season when newspapers often publish trivial material because of a lack of important news.
More example sentences
  • It's summer, the silly season in the news business.
  • Still, it's not all bad: lack of news brings us the silly season.
  • ‘It has been a bit back to the old days this summer when the silly season really meant the silly season,’ he says.



Pronunciation: /ˈsiləlē/
More example sentences
  • The custom involved a group ‘simply or sillily and without ceremony or introduction’ walking into people's houses to check if the clock was in good repair.
  • I then realised I actually quite like the police station, with its spiralling steps, and bizarre platforms on sillily long stilts.
  • They were rather sillily teaching them how to do it for each other.


More example sentences
  • Anyway, it's boringly easy to list the sillinesses of this idea.
  • That the president of failing company would be driven to utter such silliness is of course nothing new.
  • Does that mean they are ‘breaking the rules’ by mixing agendas, silliness and seriousness?

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