n. pl. jel·lies
1. A soft, semisolid food substance with a resilient consistency, made by the setting of a liquid containing pectin or gelatin or by the addition of gelatin to a liquid, especially such a substance made of fruit juice containing pectin boiled with sugar.
2. Something, such as a petroleum ointment, having the consistency of a soft, semisolid food substance.
3. A shapeless, pulpy mass: The hero's laser zapped the monster, turning it to jelly.
4. Something, such as a body part, that has suddenly become limp or enervated: Her knees turned to jelly when she learned she won first prize.
5. A jellyfish.
6. A jelly sandal.
v. jel·lied, jel·ly·ing, jel·lies
To cause to have the consistency of jelly.
To acquire the consistency of jelly: The consommé jellied in the refrigerator.
[Middle English gelee, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *gelāta, from Latin, feminine past participle of gelāre, to freeze; see gel- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus