Definition of silly in English:


Line breaks: silly
Pronunciation: /ˈsɪli

adjective (sillier, silliest)

  • 2 archaic (Especially of a woman, child, or animal) helpless; defenceless.
    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.
  • 3 [attributive] Cricket Denoting fielding positions very close to the batsman: silly mid-on
    More example sentences
    • Illingworth was content with two short legs, silly mid-on, slip and gulley as he wheeled away for less than one run an over.
    • Ian Bell, surrounded by a slip, gully, short leg and captain Ricky Ponting at silly mid-off, became Warne's second lbw victim for eight.
    • Sourav Ganguly, once legendarily dismissive of spinners but now woefully out of form, was dropped by Younis Khan at silly mid-off.

noun (plural sillies)

informal Back to top  


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.



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?


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'.

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