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Kayla Fisher

Profs. Thiede and BoisverT


LBST 2213
20 Oct. 2015

1. The Etymology of chill


Cele, ciele, cile, cyle, in Old English and chele, chile, cheele in Middle English are the
spellings and first sighting of the use of the modern English word chill. At the beginning, the
word was used as a noun, being the former equivalent of the modern cold. (chill, OED) For
example, the chill was used as the coldness of the weather. Around the year 825, Vespasian
Psalter is the earliest literature recorded to use the word in the quote, Biforan ansiene celes
his. which roughly translates to Before the chill his.(Blue Engine)
After several hundreds of years, the word chill was somewhat replaced by the word cold
when used as a noun. Around this time chill became more commonly used as an adjective
and verb. As an adjective it is used to describe something or someone as being cold or chilly, such as a chill-y night or the chill-y girl searched for a blanket. As a verb chill is
used as the action of making something or someone cold (e.g. the chill-ing of a drink in a
fridge or the girl was chill-ed by the winter weather.) One of the first examples of literature to
use chill as an adjective is Mirror of Martyrs by J. Weever in 1601; A cold congealed ice,
a bloudlesse chill. Weever describes the ice as being chill with great detail.(chill, OED)
In the modern world today, we still use the word chill to describe something as cold and
to use it as an action in making something cold. But today, as you can see in my sentences
above (using the word cold in order to make sense of the word chill), the word is not as
commonly used as the word cold. Today the most common use of the word chill when
referring to cold (when I hear it used around me) is: when someone says I have the chills.,
or when referring to the weather as people say its chilly outside. Today the word cold is
more commonly used as the adjective for anything that is at a low temperature.
Although we still sometimes use chill with the meaning of being cold or making cold,
people have created a slang definition for the term chill that is even more commonly used.
According to the urban dictionary, filled with all of the modern and slang words of today,
chill can be used as an adjective to describe a noun as being cool, tight wicked, sick, sweet,
nice, as well as, being easy going. As a verb, chill means to calm down, to relax, and to
hang out. The new version of the word is mainly used to describe a relaxed person who
goes with the flow and to tell someone (usually in a joking matter) they need to calm
down, take a chill-pill or chill out.

Kayla Fisher
Profs. Thiede and BoisverT
LBST 2213
20 Oct. 2015

Work Cited

Chill. Oxford English Dictionary. Online. (library subscription access)


"Chill." Urban Dictionary. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
"Old English Translator." Old English Translator. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.