1. A moderate but penetrating coldness.
2. A sensation of coldness, often accompanied by shivering and pallor of the skin.
3. A checking or dampening of enthusiasm, spirit, or joy: bad news that put a chill on the celebration.
4. A sudden numbing fear or dread.
1. Moderately cold; chilly: a chill wind.
2. Not warm and friendly; distant: a chill greeting.
3. Discouraging; dispiriting: “Chill penury repressed their noble rage” (Thomas Gray).
4. Slang Calm or relaxed: “As my meditation routine grew more stable...my already laid-back demeanor grew positively chill” (David Gelles).
v. chilled, chill·ing, chills
1. To affect with or as if with cold.
2. To lower in temperature; cool.
3. To make discouraged; dispirit.
4. Metallurgy To harden (a metallic surface) by rapid cooling.
1. To be seized with cold.
2. To become cold or set: jelly that chills quickly.
3. Metallurgy To become hard by rapid cooling.
a. To calm down or relax. Often used with out.
b. To pass time idly; loiter.
c. To spend time with someone in a relaxed manner; hang out together.
[Middle English chile, from Old English cele; see gel- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.