[ sil-ee ]
/ ˈsɪl i /

adjective, sil·li·er, sil·li·est.

noun, plural sil·lies.

Informal. a silly or foolish person: Don't be such a silly.

Origin of silly

1375–1425; earlier sylie, sillie foolish, feeble-minded, simple, pitiful; late Middle English syly, variant of sely seely


1 witless, senseless, dull-witted, dim-witted. See foolish.
2 inane, asinine, nonsensical, preposterous.

Related forms

sil·li·ly, adverbsil·li·ness, nounun·sil·ly, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for silly

British Dictionary definitions for silly


/ (ˈsɪlɪ) /

adjective -lier or -liest


(modifier) cricket (of a fielding position) near the batsman's wicketsilly mid-on
Also called: silly-billy plural -lies informal a foolish person

Derived Forms

silliness, noun

Word Origin for silly

C15 (in the sense: pitiable, hence the later senses: foolish): from Old English sǣlig (unattested) happy, from sǣl happiness; related to Gothic sēls good
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