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Scilly

isles off Cornwall, of unknown origin. Pliny has Silumnus, Silimnis. Perhaps connected with the Roman god Sulis (cf. Aquae sulis "Bath"). The -y might be Old Norse ey "island" The -c- added 16c.-17c. "[A]bout the only certain thing that can be said is that the c of the modern spelling is not original but was added for distinction from ModE silly as this word developed in meaning from 'happy, blissful' to 'foolish.'" [Victor Watts, "Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names," 2004].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Examples from the Web for scilly
Historical Examples
  • It was on the 5th of December that we sighted the scilly Isles.

    The Frozen Pirate W. Clark Russell
  • It was natural that Tresco should become the ecclesiastical centre of scilly.

    The Cornwall Coast Arthur L. Salmon
  • Industrially, we chiefly think of scilly in connection with flowers.

    The Cornwall Coast Arthur L. Salmon
  • The naval importance of scilly was fully realised in those days.

    The Cornwall Coast Arthur L. Salmon
  • "scilly people," piped a shrill female voice from our midst.

  • The fine weather continued until she had got clear of scilly.

    The Three Admirals W.H.G. Kingston
  • The Earl of scilly chid me but this summer for sparing the rod and spoiling the child.

    Harding's luck E. [Edith] Nesbit
  • There was no escaping Cromwell—not even in scilly any more than in Jamaica.

    Armorel of Lyonesse Walter Besant
  • You will know nothing whatever about scilly if you go to-morrow.'

    Armorel of Lyonesse Walter Besant
  • Then the sea washed away all the land between scilly and the Land's End.

    Armorel of Lyonesse Walter Besant

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