- 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 for silly on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for silly
It is loathed by some critics who find it patronizing, silly, and superficial.'The Newsroom' Ended As It Began: Weird, Controversial, and Noble
December 15, 2014
It was sexy, silly, and—in those relatively modest times—sensational.Happy 20th Birthday, Liz Hurley’s Safety-Pin Dress
December 12, 2014
Few questions, no matter how fun and silly, go by without circling back to their accomplishments or future projects.How the Property Brothers Became Your Mom’s Favorite TV Stars
November 25, 2014
The 1996 filing (which you can check out here) was, naturally, as silly and frivolous as the boycott push that came before it.When the Religious Right Attacked ‘The Little Mermaid’
November 20, 2014
The other one is silly and perhaps because of that even more cringe-worthy.Kerouac Biographer Gets Back on the Road
October 2, 2014
It is little use telling one's self that one's fear is silly.Weighed and Wanting
If he comes wooing again, I shall not be so silly as I was the last time.The Bacillus of Beauty
How silly of you, Toinette, to be so afflicted at his death.The Imaginary Invalid
But how should I know he would care to hear about a lot of silly Mammoths.The Trail Book
Very odd, he thought; what had the silly Indians been up to now?
- 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 silly
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.