chill

Definitions

Agriculture

  • verb to preserve by cooling to a temperature just above freezing.

Food

Medical

  • noun a short illness causing a feeling of being cold and shivering, usually the sign of the beginning of a fever, of flu or a cold

Slang

  • adjective relaxed, relaxing, unstressed. Derived from the verb form, this adolescent vogue term has been in use since the 1990s.
  • adjective excellent. An expression used on campus in the USA since around 2000.
  • verb to kill someone. A ‘tough-guy’ euphemism originating in US street slang.
  • verb to relax, become calm. This shortening of the earlier chill out (itself adopted from American usage) became popular among British adolescents during the 1990s.

Travel

  • verb to make food cold

Origin & History of “chill”

Old English had a noun cele or ciele ‘cold’ (from the same Germanic base as cold) which developed into middle English chile ‘cold, frost’. Gaps in the record, however, cast doubt on whether this was the direct ancestor of the modern English noun, which may more plausibly be derived from the verb chill. This has been tentatively traced back to a hypothetical Old English verb *cieldan (also from the same Germanic base as cold), whose later form child may have been misinterpreted as a past participle, giving the new base form chill. Chilblain (16th c.) is a compound formed from chill and blain ‘blister’, which comes from Old English blegen.
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