Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

silence

play
noun si·lence \ˈsī-lən(t)s\

Simple Definition of silence

  • : a lack of sound or noise

  • : a situation, state, or period of time in which people do not talk

  • : a situation or state in which someone does not talk about or answer questions about something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of silence

  1. 1 :  forbearance from speech or noise :  muteness —often used interjectionally

  2. 2 :  absence of sound or noise :  stillness <in the silence of the night>

  3. 3 :  absence of mention:a :  oblivion, obscurityb :  secrecy <weapons research was conducted in silence>

Examples of silence in a sentence

  1. I find it hard to sleep unless there is complete silence.

  2. The silence was broken by the sound of footsteps in the hallway.

  3. We sat there in dead silence.

  4. My sister's revelation was met with stunned silence.

  5. The professor asked for silence.

  6. There was an awkward silence after he confessed his love for her.

  7. A long silence followed her reply.

  8. We must break 50 years of silence on issues like the government's involvement in assassination and espionage.

  9. I will not be intimidated into silence.

  10. She finally ended her silence and spoke to the media about what happened.



Origin and Etymology of silence

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin silentium, from silent-, silens


First Known Use: 13th century


2

silence

transitive verb si·lence

Simple Definition of silence

  • : to cause (someone or something) to stop speaking or making noise : to cause (someone or something) to become silent

  • : to stop (someone) from expressing opinions that are opposed to your own or from telling people about bad things that you have done

  • : to stop (something) from being expressed or revealed

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of silence

silenced

silencing

  1. 1 :  to compel or reduce to silence :  still <silenced the crowd>

  2. 2 :  suppress <silence dissent>

  3. 3 :  to cause to cease hostile firing or criticism <silence the opposition>

Examples of silence in a sentence

  1. My sister's revelation silenced everyone around the table.

  2. Disconnecting the battery will silence the alarm.

  3. The mayor tried to silence his critics.

  4. I will not be silenced!

  5. It's obvious that the purpose of this law is to silence dissent.



1598

First Known Use of silence

1598



SILENCE Defined for Kids

1

silence

play
noun si·lence \ˈsī-ləns\

Definition of silence for Students

  1. 1 :  the state of keeping or being silent <The teacher motioned for silence.>

  2. 2 :  the state of there being no sound or noise :  stillness




2

silence

play
verb si·lence

Definition of silence for Students

silenced

silencing

  1. 1 :  to stop the noise or speech of :  cause to be silent

  2. 2 :  suppress 1 <The group tried to silence opposing views.>




Medical Dictionary

silence

play
transitive verb si·lence \ˈsī-lən(t)s\

Medical Definition of silence

silenced

;

silencing

  1. :  to block the genetic expression of :  suppress <the gene was silenced using the technique of RNA interference>




Law Dictionary

silence

noun si·lence

Legal Definition of silence

  1. 1 :  the state of keeping or being silent; especially :  forbearance from speech or comment

  2. 2 :  failure to make something known especially in violation of a duty to do so <acceptance by silence> — see also estoppel by silence at estoppel 1





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up silence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to destroy or remove completely

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

vernal hiemal estival brumal
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ