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

There was a moment of silence in newsrooms across the country to remember the five people who were killed at the Annapolis Capital Gazette by a crazed gunman who hated the paper for writing about his past conviction. Fox News, "Media's Supreme Court scrutiny," 9 July 2018 Marthas — post-menopausal women of god — cook and clean for these families in solitude and a lot of silence. refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Still Has A White Female Privilege Problem," 11 July 2018 Sexism, power, and a culture of silence is precisely part of the problem. Nicolas Nguyen, STAT, "‘Benign sexism’ intrudes at a meeting of the world’s brightest minds," 3 July 2018 Except for the steady grunt of plows in the distance, the world echoed in decibels of silence. Beck Dorey-stein, Philly.com, "Charles Barkley was star-struck before interviewing president Obama. A stenographer from Narberth calmed him down," 2 July 2018 Worst in that everyone in the world knew Kylie was pregnant for months and months in spite of the KarJenner vow of silence. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kylie Jenner Broke Her Own Ban on Posting Pictures of Stormi," 1 July 2018 The Marseillaise national anthem was then sung by the American soprano Barbara Hendricks and the Choir of the French Army, followed by a minute of silence. Sylvie Corbet, Fox News, "France honors Holocaust survivor Simone Veil at the Pantheon," 1 July 2018 One of the biggest unanswered questions is what set Ramos off after a two-year period of silence. Author: Matthew Barakat, Denise Lavoie, Anchorage Daily News, "Newspaper shooting suspect's grievances began with classmate," 30 June 2018 Among those involved in the movement to address Spain’s legacy of silence, Cantera gained a reputation as an implacable opponent. Matías Costa, Smithsonian, "The Battle Over the Memory of the Spanish Civil War," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Supporters of the Shinawatra family say that the constitution is designed to silence their voice. Time, "Exclusive: Thailand PM Prayuth Chan-ocha on Turning to China Over the U.S.," 21 June 2018 Please don’t let anyone silence your voice and your truth. Letters, Teen Vogue, "A Letter to Gigi Hadid from Palestinian Youth," 30 May 2018 Youth who took part in the survey also saw promise in blocking technology that would silence incoming notifications while driving, lock phones, or make automatic replies to incoming texts. Rita Giordano, Philly.com, "How to stop teens from texting and driving? Try money," 24 Apr. 2018 The American Association of University Professors filed a friend of the court brief arguing the court needed to prevent silencing controversial voices. Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marquette firing of conservative professor gains national spotlight as it hits high court," 16 Apr. 2018 When Zuckerberg appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday in his second day of congressional hearings, several lawmakers asked him about Diamond and Silk and the perception that Facebook works to silence right-wing voices. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Republican lawmakers go after Facebook CEO Zuckerberg for anti-conservative bias," 11 Apr. 2018 What a timely story this would be, in our age of public distrust in the media and authoritarian attempts to silence reporters and publications and the struggles of both old and new media companies to survive. Danielle Tcholakian, Longreads, "Why Can’t the Female Reporters Stay In The Picture?," 10 Apr. 2018 In last year’s Finals, they were silenced by Durant’s killer three, and Durant hit the mute button again this year. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "How Kevin Durant’s Shot Explains the NBA Finals," 7 June 2018 As Season 2 opens, Sam's frank honesty and no-nonsense attitude have turned her into a target for online trolls who want nothing more than to belittle and silence her. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Dear White People's Logan Browning Calls #TimesUp on Black Women as Constant Caretakers," 30 May 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

11 Sep 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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