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[chil-ee] /ˈtʃɪl i/
adjective, chillier, chilliest.
mildly cold or producing a sensation of cold; causing shivering; chill:
a chilly breeze.
feeling cold; sensitive to cold:
Her hands were chilly.
without warmth of feeling; cool:
a chilly reply.
producing or likely to produce a feeling of fear; frightening:
He told a chilly story of ghosts and murder.
Also, chillily. in a chill manner:
The wind blew chilly.
Origin of chilly
First recorded in 1560-70; chill + -y1
Related forms
chilliness, noun
Can be confused
Chile, chili, chilly.
Synonym Study
1. See cold. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for chilly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The short spring day was over, and the chilly night was setting in.

  • The rehearsals were so bad that Duquesnel and chilly were in despair.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • chilly kept his word, and brought an action against me and the Comdie.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • But I fear it may be chilly outside; and besides, where could I go in the middle of the night?

  • It was a chilly night, and the fire in the widow's parlour had burnt low.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for chilly


adjective -lier, -liest
causing or feeling cool or moderately cold
without warmth; unfriendly
(of people) sensitive to cold
Derived Forms
chilliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chilly

1560s, "causing a sensation of cold," from chill (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "feeling coldish" is attested from 1610s; figurative use is recorded by 1841. Related: Chilliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for chilly



Wonderful; excellent; cool, neat: You're chilly. You're okay, Sarge (1980s+ Teenagers)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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