- weak-minded or lacking good sense; stupid or foolish: a silly writer.
- absurd; ridiculous; irrational: a silly idea.
- stunned; dazed: He knocked me silly.
- Cricket. (of a fielder or the fielder's playing position) extremely close to the batsman's wicket: silly mid off.
- Archaic. rustic; plain; homely.
- Archaic. weak; helpless.
- Obsolete. lowly in rank or state; humble.
- Informal. a silly or foolish person: Don't be such a silly.
Origin of silly
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sillies
This is more suitable for an introduction for "The Three Sillies."Europa's Fairy Book
So there was a whole lot of sillies bigger than the three sillies at home.Children's Literature
Charles Madison Curry
It is just this lot of flatterers and sillies that are ruining her.The Camp Fire Girls on a Yacht
Margaret Love Sanderson
All I know is that these lads held up my car the night of the Sillies.Dorothy Dixon and the Mystery Plane
So there was a whole lot of sillies bigger than them three sillies at home.English Fairy Tales
- lacking in good sense; absurd
- frivolous, trivial, or superficial
- dazed, as from a blow
- obsolete homely or humble
- (modifier) cricket (of a fielding position) near the batsman's wicketsilly mid-on
- Also called: silly-billy plural -lies informal a foolish person
Word Origin and History for sillies
Old English gesælig "happy, fortuitous, prosperous" (related to sæl "happiness"), from Proto-Germanic *sæligas (cf. Old Norse sæll "happy," Old Saxon salig, Middle Dutch salich, Old High German salig, German selig "blessed, happy, blissful," Gothic sels "good, kindhearted"), from PIE *sele- "of good mood; to favor," from root *sel- (2) "happy, of good mood; to favor" (cf. Latin solari "to comfort," Greek hilaros "cheerful, gay, merry, joyous").
This is one of the few instances in which an original long e (ee) has become shortened to i. The same change occurs in breeches, and in the American pronunciation of been, with no change in spelling. [Century Dictionary]
The word's considerable sense development moved from "happy" to "blessed" to "pious," to "innocent" (c.1200), to "harmless," to "pitiable" (late 13c.), "weak" (c.1300), to "feeble in mind, lacking in reason, foolish" (1570s). Further tendency toward "stunned, dazed as by a blow" (1886) in knocked silly, etc. Silly season in journalism slang is from 1861 (August and September, when newspapers compensate for a lack of hard news by filling up with trivial stories). Silly Putty trademark claims use from July 1949.