Definition of silly in English:



  • 1Having or showing a lack of common sense or judgment; absurd and foolish.

    ‘another of his silly jokes’
    ‘“Don't be silly!” she said’
    • ‘Yes, it is all a bit familiar - but, sadly, nowhere near as delightfully absurd and unrepentantly silly as the Ghostbusters movies.’
    • ‘We are frail, we are human, we make mistakes, we do foolish things, silly things.’
    • ‘We will always end up looking slightly silly, because we will be dealing with them after the event, when all the protagonists have run for cover and it is very difficult to get to the basis of what happened.’
    • ‘The bombast, condescension, arrogance and swagger all seems slightly silly in retrospect.’
    • ‘This silly man is being abused, ridiculed and punished for having flouted his own moral principles, and then being idiotic enough to confess it.’
    • ‘What I can't understand is why we just can't leave people to live their lives in peace, unscathed by our silly, ridiculous prejudices.’
    • ‘It was silly, extremely foolish and childish of me.’
    • ‘Monday's story in the Wall Street Journal about Academy DVD screeners and their vulnerability to piracy was slightly silly.’
    • ‘It's a very bold move, and some would suggest a slightly silly one.’
    • ‘They are truly silly, absurd films, intended primarily to make people laugh.’
    • ‘She would guide me through the difficult parts and ridicule my silly mistakes.’
    • ‘Obviously this is silly and common sense must prevail, so it is the interpretation of the law that becomes all-important, but it is in this interpretation where we have the inconsistency.’
    • ‘So it was a history of Britain with lots of silly jokes.’
    • ‘The cartoons inject humour, while the writing is crystal-clear and direct - it never relies on silly jokes and is never patronising.’
    • ‘I felt slightly silly as I remained in my chair, watching everyone dancing and having fun.’
    • ‘A seriously slight but enjoyably silly teen hit manages to deliver a healthy second dose of college chuckles - without changing a thing.’
    • ‘I don't have any obvious answers to this riddle - or at least, none that aren't wearing silly tinfoil hats.’
    • ‘There's a skinny, floppy-haired scamp on stage wearing a slightly silly outfit.’
    • ‘She felt slightly silly, saying these things in front of her husband, but didn't care.’
    • ‘I had assumed that everyone (and Jessica in particular) would understand my comment as a silly joke.’
    foolish, stupid, unintelligent, idiotic, brainless, mindless, witless, imbecilic, imbecile, doltish
    unwise, imprudent, thoughtless, foolish, stupid, idiotic, senseless, mindless, fatuous
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    1. 1.1Ridiculously trivial or frivolous.
      ‘he would brood about silly things’
      • ‘For decades, petty rules, silly laws and frivolous lawsuits held no power over Common Sense.’
      • ‘But it's not automatically rendered trivial and silly, just because it's about a household animal.’
      • ‘That might sound unnecessarily silly or trivial, but it's been a serious point of contention.’
      • ‘You really think I'm supposed to marry you on the spot right now just because you answered some silly trivia question?’
      • ‘None of these cost much or had much relevance but collectively, in a period where morale was weak, they were silly, petty little annoyances that were easy to avoid.’
      • ‘Brainball may seem like a ridiculously silly game, but it demonstrates how a machine can know something about your emotional state.’
      • ‘It's a deeply silly and trivial entertainment cheerfully devoid of any nutritional or calorific value whatever.’
      • ‘Be clear that your child should tell you straight away if anything unusual or frightening has happened, even if it seems silly or trivial to him and especially if he's been told not to tell.’
      • ‘You should hear how men howl at this finding: What a trivial excuse, how silly.’
      • ‘For the next hour or two, they engage in serious debate, silly gossip or frivolous prattle.’
      • ‘It's probably silly and frivolous, but maybe you want to respond.’
      • ‘You think it's a silly and trivial innovation, well maybe, but who knows where it might lead.’
      • ‘He did not want her to make his feelings sound silly and ridiculous, even if her intentions were good.’
      • ‘Ack, it sounds so silly and trivial now, but I was literally shaking with rage at the time.’
      • ‘After reading these… my explanation seems silly and trivial.’
      • ‘And while the occasional privacy violation seems trivial, perhaps even silly to some readers, these abuses really do add up over time.’
      • ‘That is just frivolous and silly, and I ask the member to stand and withdraw and apologise for that comment.’
      • ‘And I had this thought, which I hope doesn't sound too silly or too frivolous or disrespectful of a disaster.’
      • ‘The experiments were trivial, downright silly you may say, but the theoretical implications may be profound.’
      • ‘A variation of 0.2 degrees seems trivial and almost silly to worry about.’
      trivial, trifling, frivolous, footling, petty, niggling, small, slight, minor, insignificant, unimportant, inconsequential, of little account
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    2. 1.2[as complement]Used to convey that an activity or process has been engaged in to such a degree that someone is no longer capable of thinking or acting sensibly.
      ‘he often drank himself silly’
      ‘his mother worried herself silly over him’
      • ‘But she still worried herself silly every time a visit was coming up.’
      • ‘He drank himself silly and had to take a cab home.’
      senseless, insensible, unconscious, stupid, dopey, into a stupor, into oblivion, into senselessness, into a daze
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    3. 1.3archaic (especially of a woman, child, or animal) helpless; defenseless.
      • ‘In many of the tales the fairies are tiny, silly, helpless creatures.’
      • ‘She is silly, helpless, Irish, very poor, and 28 years of age.’


  • A foolish person (often used as a form of address)

    ‘Come on, silly’
    • ‘Then he says huitlacoche is corn fungus, not a nervous breakdown, sillies.’
    • ‘Quit interrupting the news bulletin in that infuriating manner when you don't actually have any results at all to hand, sillies.’
    • ‘Apparently, 1/3 of American men have not had a checkup in the past year, you sillies.’
    nincompoop, dunce, simpleton
    nitwit, ninny, dimwit, dope, dumbo, dummy, chump, goon, jackass, fathead, bonehead, chucklehead, knucklehead, lamebrain, clod, pea-brain, pudding-head, thickhead, wooden-head, pinhead, airhead, birdbrain, scatterbrain, noodle, donkey
    silly billy, stupe, nit, clot, twit, berk, twerp
    nyaff, sumph, gowk, balloon
    bozo, boob, schlepper, goofball, goof, goofus, galoot, lummox, dip, simp, spud, coot, palooka, poop, yo-yo, dingleberry
    drongo, dill, alec, galah, nong, bogan, poon, boofhead
    muttonhead, noddy
    clodpole, spoony, mooncalf
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Late Middle English (in the sense deserving of pity or sympathy): alteration of dialect seely happy later innocent, feeble from a West Germanic base meaning luck, happiness. The sense foolish developed via the stages feeble and unsophisticated, ignorant.