silly season

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English[edit]

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Noun[edit]

silly season (plural silly seasons)

  1. (idiomatic) A period of time, as during a holiday season or a political campaign, in which the behavior of an individual or group tends to become uncharacteristically frivolous, mirthful, or eccentric.
    • 1983, Walter Isaacson et al., "Opening the Silly Season," Time, 28 Feb.:
      Yes, Virginia, there is a presidential election in 1984—and it has begun: A former Vice President goes ice fishing and poses with a puny perch dangling from his line. A 68-year-old Senator dons athletic shorts and runs a 60-yd. dash in a San Francisco track meet. . . . Such hijinks can mean only one thing: the quadrennial silly season has started again.
    • 2008, "Latin Days Are Here Again?," Newsweek, 18 June:
      Over time, the silly season in Catholic liturgy that peaked in the 1970s—"clown" masses (with the priest vested as Bozo or somesuch), free-for-all prayers that ignored the prescribed rite, dreadful pop music, inept "liturgical dance," a general lack of decorum—began to recede.
  2. (idiomatic, journalism) A period, usually during the summertime, when news media tend to place increased emphasis on reporting light-hearted, offbeat, or bizarre stories.
    • 1876, "Dunedin," Bruce Herald (New Zealand), 23 May, p. 6 (retrieved 20 July 2010):
      The amount of space at the disposal of newspapers, and the want of something to talk about and write about, produced that mild autumnal effect known as the silly season, which sets in when there is a lull in politics, and a dearth of news.
    • 1959, Stephen Franklin, "The Trail of the Sasquatch," Ottawa Citizen Weekend Magazine (Canada), 4 April, p. 3 (retrieved 20 July 2010):
      The Sasquatch has long since become the clown who is the life of the party, whom nobody ever takes seriously; the godsend of newspaper cartoonists in the silly season when politicians are on vacation.
    • 2009, "News in the Silly Season: Flying Rabbits, Violent Cows and Drowning Hedgehogs," Spiegel Online, 13 Aug. (retrieved 20 July 2010):
      The Brits call it the "silly season." In Germany the media call it the Sommerloch, literally "the summer hole." What they are referring to is the fact that when politicians and businesspeople close up shop and go away for the major European summer holidays, the number of serious news stories tends to diminish—meaning desperate hacks need to find something else to fill the hole.

See also[edit]