silence

noun
si·​lence | \ˈsī-lən(t)s \

Definition of silence 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

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

3 : absence of mention:

a : oblivion, obscurity

b : secrecy weapons research was conducted in silence

4 genetics : to block the genetic expression of RNA interference is a natural phenomenon. When a cell senses a double strand of RNA, it acts to silence any genes with the corresponding sequence of bases.— Andrew Pollack

silence

verb
silenced; silencing

Definition of silence (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to compel or reduce to silence : still silenced the crowd

2 : suppress silence dissent

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

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Examples of silence in a Sentence

Noun

I find it hard to sleep unless there is complete silence. The silence was broken by the sound of footsteps in the hallway. We sat there in dead silence. My sister's revelation was met with stunned silence. The professor asked for silence. There was an awkward silence after he confessed his love for her. A long silence followed her reply. We must break 50 years of silence on issues like the government's involvement in assassination and espionage. I will not be intimidated into silence. She finally ended her silence and spoke to the media about what happened.

Verb

My sister's revelation silenced everyone around the table. Disconnecting the battery will silence the alarm. The mayor tried to silence his critics. I will not be silenced! It's obvious that the purpose of this law is to silence dissent.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

His barbs against the media came on a day when newsrooms across the U.S. held a moment of silence in remembrance of five Maryland newspaper staffers who were fatally shot last week by a man who authorities say held a grudge against the publication. Catherine Lucey And Matt Volz, chicagotribune.com, "Trump mocks media at Montana rally on same day newsrooms held moment of silence for slain journalists," 5 July 2018 Trif Alatzas, publisher and editor in chief of the The Baltimore Sun Media Group, which owns The Sun and the Capital Gazette, announced the moment of silence in a letter to colleagues Monday. Nicholas Bogel-burroughs, baltimoresun.com, "American Society of News Editors calls for global moment of silence to honor Capital Gazette shooting victims," 3 July 2018 From the bridge the royals headed to Storyhouse, a new theatre and library in the centre of Chester where they were given a tour of the building and observed a 72-second moment of silence in tribute to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. Katie Nicholl, Vanities, "Meghan Markle Joins the Queen For Her First Royal Outing Without Harry," 14 June 2018 The Milwaukee Brewers opened their series against the Chicago Cubs with a moment of silence in honor of Officer Charles Irvine Jr. Irvine, 23, a four-year veteran of the Milwaukee Police Department, died Thursday. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers honor fallen Milwaukee police officer Charles Irvine Jr.," 12 June 2018 The locals already appear to be bracing for another James departure, judging by the long stretches of second-half silence in the building, but no good clues were forthcoming on the real curiosity. Marc Stein, New York Times, "LeBron James Reveals an Injury, but His Destination Is Far From Clear," 8 June 2018 Race organizers are planning a moment of silence in her honor just before the start. Diane Bell, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Tom Cruise, aka Maverick, feels the need for a San Diego re-fuel," 1 June 2018 The governor called for a moment of silence in all Texas schools at 10 a.m. CST on Monday. Alan Gomez, USA TODAY, "Texas leaders at odds over gun control following Santa Fe high school shooting," 21 May 2018 Fans in Stockholm held a minute of silence in his honor on Saturday. CBS News, "Avicii death: Family says late DJ "wanted to find peace"," 26 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Hollywood Reporter published a bombshell on Thursday, describing beleaguered MSNBC host Joy Reid’s attempt to run the story only to be silenced by NBC executives. Brian Flood, Fox News, "NBC News reportedly buried Joy Reid sex-bombshell saga involving Russell Simmons, AJ Calloway," 28 June 2018 Travis, silenced by a stroke five years ago, beamed as Bryan leaned over to greet the 59-year-old legend. Nancy Kruh, PEOPLE.com, "Luke Kneels Before His Idol, Blake Gets a Do-Over and Carrie Doesn't Sweat It: All the CMA Fest Stadium Concert Highlights," 12 June 2018 Women at Michigan State University reported his abuse even earlier and they were silenced and ignored. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, "Senate serves subpoenas for hearing on sexual abuse of Olympic athletes," 29 May 2018 Activists who worked to help earthquake victims were jailed and complaints about the quality of building materials were silenced. Nanlin Fang And Ben Westcott, CNN, "A decade on, heartache of deadly Sichuan quake still being felt," 11 May 2018 Whereas in Mexico local journalists are gunned down and the perpetrators are rarely brought to justice, in Myanmar they are imprisoned and silenced by the government, which resorts to the application of colonial-era laws to do so. Alice Driver, Longreads, "No Journalist Should Have to Know How to Survive in Prison," 3 May 2018 Newgarden tries to silence the voice in his head, the one that questions everything, by shutting out the world and staring at a wall, but that doesn’t always work either. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Josef Newgarden's beautiful mind needs to go faster and faster," 24 May 2018 The new Establishment is re-distributing power and influence, adjudicating merit and taste, and giving a voice to those who have been previously silenced or ignored. Monica Lewinsky, Vanities, "Monica Lewinsky: What We All Can Learn from My Disinvitation Debacle," 11 May 2018 But Pablos' supporters believe the agency is trying to silence her. Daniel González, azcentral, "ICE arrests aimed at silencing immigrant-rights activists, critics say," 4 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'silence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of silence

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for silence

Noun

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

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Statistics for silence

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for silence

The first known use of silence was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for silence

silence

noun

English Language Learners Definition of silence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

silence

verb

English Language Learners Definition of silence (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

silence

noun
si·​lence | \ˈsī-ləns \

Kids Definition of silence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

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

silence

verb
silenced; silencing

Kids Definition of silence (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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

silence

transitive verb
si·​lence | \ˈsī-lən(t)s \
silenced; silencing

Medical Definition of silence 

: to block the genetic expression of : suppress the gene was silenced using the technique of RNA interference

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silence

noun
si·​lence

Legal Definition of silence 

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

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 sense 1

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More from Merriam-Webster on silence

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for silence

Spanish Central: Translation of silence

Nglish: Translation of silence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of silence for Arabic Speakers

Comments on silence

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