Shill vs chill

Photo of author


Shill and chill are two words that are very close in spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings. We will look at the definitions of shill and chill, where these two terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A shill is a person who aids a criminal by pretending to be a genuine customer, thereby inducing the victim to buy the item in question or patronize the establishment. Another type of shill is a person who endorses a product as an impartial customer, but is actually being paid to endorse the product.  A shill may also help an entertainer such as a magician by posing as an audience member during a trick. Primarily an American term, shill may be used as a noun or a verb, related words are shills, shilled, shilling. The word shill is an abbreviation of the word shillaber, which was a term for an employee of a carnival or circus who bought tickets in an enthusiastic manner, inducing patrons to also buy tickets.

A chill is a cold feeling or to make something cold.  A chill may be a physical manifestation or may signify a cold manner or influence. The term chill is often used to mean a feeling of fear. Chill is used as a noun or a verb, related words are chills, chilled, chilling, chilly. The word chill is derived from the Old English word ciele which means coolness or frost.


Certainly one should not listen to a politician, an industry shill or someone from the Bonneville Power Authority, the Corps of Engineers or the Bureau of Reclamation. (The Idaho Statesman)

It’s probably been five minutes since I last shilled for daikon so here we go again—it is the most underrated vegetable out there. (Bon Appetit Magazine)

In most mild areas of Southern California, we receive 300-500 hours of winter chill, depending upon whether or not we have a warm or especially cold winter. (The Press-Enterprise)

And now Rosemary will arrive with words from Richard from the afterlife, and leave Gail chilled to the bones. (The Sun)