silence

noun
si·​lence | \ ˈsī-lən(t)s How to pronounce silence (audio) \

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

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
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

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Synonyms for silence

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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 The cards have worked out in your favor, but silence is never an option. Elias Leight, Rolling Stone, 5 June 2021 For humans, this would mean silence was safety and making any sounds risked death. BostonGlobe.com, 27 May 2021 But that has to change because our silence is complicity. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, 19 Mar. 2021 And to those with the power to help and yet sit idly by, your silence is complicity. NBC News, 18 Mar. 2021 And to those with the power to help and yet sit idly by, your silence is complicity. Jenna Ryu, USA TODAY, 17 Mar. 2021 In his tweet, DeSantis asked the people of the Sunshine State to pause at 3 p.m. for a moment of silence. Houston Keene, Fox News, 31 May 2021 Sisi’s role in brokering a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas earned him his first call with President Biden on Monday after months of silence, along with a Wednesday visit from Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Gabriel T. Rubin, WSJ, 28 May 2021 The pandemic may not be officially over, but things sure look a lot different than the last PGA Championship, played in near silence in San Francisco last August. Tim Dahlberg, Star Tribune, 22 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Gesicki’s been down that road before, forced to silence the critics because his NFL career got off to a slow start. Omar Kelly, sun-sentinel.com, 26 May 2021 His party and his allies have also moved to silence critics, ordering Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to take down critical posts and threatening to arrest people for pleading for oxygen. BostonGlobe.com, 2 May 2021 His party and his allies have also moved to silence critics, ordering Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to take down critical posts and threatening to arrest ordinary people for pleading for oxygen. New York Times, 1 May 2021 In India, which held its spot at 142, the government has used laws to silence government critics. Amy Gunia, Time, 20 Apr. 2021 To silence her critics, Lizzo shared a final video about the topic on her Instagram. Sonia Ramirez, Chron, 16 Dec. 2020 The publishing mogul has become a prime target of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to silence its critics. Washington Post, 11 Dec. 2020 And an attorney for several officers named in the lawsuit called it an effort by the chief to silence his critics. Andrew Demillo, Star Tribune, 30 Sep. 2020 La Russa deserves credit for allowing his players to disagree with him without trying to silence them. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, 26 May 2021

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

1553, 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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Time Traveler for silence

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for silence

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Silence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/silence. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce silence (audio) \

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 How to pronounce silence (audio) \
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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