adjective, chill·i·er, chill·i·est.

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 chill·i·ly. in a chill manner: The wind blew chilly.

Origin of chilly

First recorded in 1560–70; chill + -y1
Related formschill·i·ness, noun
Can be confusedChile chili chilly

Synonym study

1. See cold. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chillier

Historical Examples of chillier

  • You are conscious of growing chillier and chillier every moment.

    By-ways in Book-land

    William Davenport Adams

  • If Khartum had been chilly to the enthusiast, Alexandria was chillier.

    The Summons

    A.E.W. Mason

  • "Chillier before morning, all right," I growled back, glad enough to hear a voice speaking to me as if it expected an answer.

  • Nevertheless the blain grew chillier and chillier until at last they were compelled to send for a physician.

    Bill the Minder

    W. Heath Robinson

  • The soft, summer breezes of the first few days had given place to keener, chillier air.

British Dictionary definitions for chillier


adjective -lier or -liest

causing or feeling cool or moderately cold
without warmth; unfriendly
(of people) sensitive to cold
Derived Formschilliness, 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

Word Origin and History for chillier



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