n. pl. jel·lies
1. A soft, semisolid food substance with a resilient consistency, made by the setting of a liquid containing pectin or gelatin or by the addition of gelatin to a liquid, especially such a substance made of fruit juice containing pectin boiled with sugar.
2. Something, such as a petroleum ointment, having the consistency of a soft, semisolid food substance.
3. A shapeless, pulpy mass: The hero's laser zapped the monster, turning it to jelly.
4. Something, such as a body part, that has suddenly become limp or enervated: Her knees turned to jelly when she learned she won first prize.
5. A jellyfish.
6. A jelly sandal.
v. jel·lied, jel·ly·ing, jel·lies
To cause to have the consistency of jelly.
To acquire the consistency of jelly: The consommé jellied in the refrigerator.
[Middle English gelee, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *gelāta, from Latin, feminine past participle of gelāre, to freeze; 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.