Chilly, Chili or Chilli, Chills, Chilling, Chile

“And disease had begun to swell the legs of some adults. Yet others developed fevers with heavy perspiration and trembling chills. And among all the children, small areas on their arms or legs would puff up, rapidly grow larger and painfully sore; then the puffed areas would split, leaking a pinkish fluid that soon became a full, yellow, stinking pus that drew buzzing flies.” —ROOTS: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

Chili and Chilli:

Chilli or chili (with single ‘l’ or double ‘ll’) is a pepper plant. The pods of chilli plant are dried and made into powder and used to make curries, sambars and chutneys and many more dishes. Chilli power is usually hot in taste, and the degree of hotness varies from region to region and type of pepper plants.

Chilli is a singular noun. Chillies or chilies is a plural noun. But in American English, chilies is used for chillies.

Chillies are grown in many countries in the world including in some chilly (cold) countries.

Naga chillies are cultivated in the northeastern states of India like Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. Interestingly, a farm in southwest England has started growing Naga chillies (its local name is bhut jolokia).

The Guinness Book of World Records certified Naga Chilli as the hottest chilli in 2007. Naga chillies are used in making curries and sauces either the fresh chillies or its packaged version – dried ones.


Chill means an unpleasant coldness felt in the body, coldness in the air or in the water; chill is an mild illness caused cold and damp conditions, feverish or shivering of the body, getting goose pimples or goose flesh.

Figuratively chill refers to depression, gloomy situation.

Chill as a verb (chills, chilled, chilling) refers to make something cold, refrigerate, getting cold; lessen or dampen.

Chilly is an adjective (chillier and chilliest) meaning rather cold, unfriendly.

When weather forecasts predict a chilly day, some can turn chilly.


Chilling is also an adjective: frightening; biting, sharp, wintry, chilly, nippy; figuratively, chill refers to unfriendliness, hostile behaviour, frigid, unsympathetic, and unwelcoming attitude or outlook. Examples:

Who would like to swim in chilly waters?

The child was advised to carry sweater (or jumper or cardigan) with her as there was a chill in the air.

Whenever Venky meets journalists, he gives chilling facts.

A chilling fact about the world around us: ‘Humans and Human Activities are the Greatest Threat to Biodiversity’ –

Celebrities chilling out on night-outs could also attract the paparazzi!


Do Chileans eat chillies? How chilly is it in Chile? Chile is a South American country but when chile is written with a lowercase ‘c’, it refers to chili or chilli. Why don’t you explore Chile with chilli pickles or chili corn carne in your backpack?