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:
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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Synonyms for silence

Synonyms: Noun

dumbness, muteness, speechlessness, stillness

Synonyms: Verb

dumb, extinguish, hush, mute, quell, quiet, quieten [chiefly British], settle, shush, shut up, squelch, still

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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

Now that Hailey is no longer Baldwin but officially Bieber, Shawn has finally broken the silence on what the model meant to him. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "Shawn Mendes Called His Relationship With Hailey Bieber a "Zone of Limbo"," 26 Nov. 2018 Another week, another period of radio silence on TimCha’s social media accounts. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "This Week in Timothée Chalamet, July 13 Edition," 13 July 2018 Now Whitney’s mother Cissy Houston is breaking her silence on the painful allegation. Liz Mcneil, PEOPLE.com, "Read Cissy Houston's Emotional Full Statement About Claim That Whitney Houston Was Molested," 11 July 2018 O'Steen and Dannenfelser commented after their groups' silence on the separations was criticized in an opinion piece in The New York Times. CBS News, "Some pro-family groups silent, while others speak up on family separations," 22 June 2018 Putting the pieces together And then, a silence on the sand. Ted Czech, ajc, "Four Navy servicemen rescue drowning girls in Florida," 18 May 2018 But for the occasional lipsmack of the sea, the night silence is absolute. Horatio Clare, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why You Should Go to Belize Now," 21 Dec. 2018 The silence could be a sign that both senators are keeping a low profile as the more moderate and progressive factions of the Democratic party face off over the controversial Amazon deal. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook has a growing morale problem," 15 Nov. 2018 The Service started at 11:00am with a 2 minute silence, exactly 100 years after the battlefields of the First World War fell silent. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Attends Remembrance Day Service Alongside Queen Elizabeth," 11 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Colvin's family believes that the attack was specifically targeted to silence her. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "The True Story of Marie Colvin, the Foreign Correspondent Who Inspired the Film A Private War," 2 Nov. 2018 To silence us in favor of money, medals and reputation. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "At the ESPYs, Aly Raisman and More Than 140 Other Abuse Survivors Were Honored For Their Courage," 19 July 2018 It was also revealed by the Wall Street Journal that Cohen paid $130,000 to Daniels prior to the election allegedly to silence her. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "Rudy Giuliani Defends Controversial Comments About Stormy Daniels," 7 June 2018 Sea lampreys do it by physically eliminating the genes, while mice (and probably humans) do it by silencing them. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Odd vertebrate gets rid of hundreds of genes early in development," 28 Jan. 2018 Studies of brain tissue samples showed that whereas ketamine silenced burst-firing within minutes, the standard antidepressant fluoxetine HCL, commonly known as Prozac, had no such effect at these timescales. Simon Makin, Scientific American, "Getting the Inside Dope on Ketamine’s Mysterious Ability to Rapidly Relieve Depression," 2 Mar. 2018 The Justice Department has been throwing its support behind students who say they have been silenced. Sadie Gurman, WSJ, "Jeff Sessions Repeats ‘Lock Her Up’ During Exchange With High-Schoolers," 24 July 2018 Hearing on Filtering Separately, the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing Thursday on the metrics that social media platforms use to moderate content, how filtering decisions are made, and whether viewpoints have been silenced. Bloomberg.com, "Senators Press Google and Twitter for Answers on Privacy," 20 Apr. 2018 The report also found no evidence to support claims that Mund was silenced or retaliated against for raising concerns about her treatment. Wayne Parry, The Seattle Times, "Lawyer: Miss America report finding no bullying a whitewash," 10 Sep. 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

16 Jan 2019

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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