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

The two of us had been sitting in silence on the spacious terrace of Hotel La Canna, Anastasi’s 14-room refuge on the island of Filicudi. Howie Kahn, Smithsonian, "These Volcanic, Italian Islands Have Been Beloved by Travelers Since Homeric Times," 11 July 2018 Members of Congress bowed their heads and stood in silence for several seconds Wednesday to honor the five people fatally shot almost two weeks ago in the Capital Gazette’s office near Annapolis. Rachel Chason, Washington Post, "In Congress, a moment of silence for victims of the Capital Gazette shooting," 11 July 2018 John Krasinski directs and stars with real-life wife Emily Blunt as parents forced to live in silence for fear of attracting unknown terrors. Mary Cadden, USA TODAY, "Week in entertainment: Charlie Puth on tour; 'Skyscraper' opens," 7 July 2018 When he was done, Hill pushed back a foot or two, brush in hand, and studied his artwork in silence. Brian Macquarrie, BostonGlobe.com, "At Maine retreat, disabled veterans find sense of belonging," 6 July 2018 The David Axelrods of the world believe that immigrants and their sympathizers should be forced to cook for, serve, and clean up after their very own abusers in silence. Mari Uyehara, GQ, "Blacklist Every Last One of Them," 26 June 2018 Two nights later, residents marched through South Park in silence to show support for each other, accompanied by Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Council members. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "After shootings, South Park teens plant seeds for a safer future," 11 June 2018 Fifty years ago, as the 21-car funeral train carrying Kennedy traveled from New York City, mourners stood by in silence. CBS News, "Remembering Robert F. Kennedy's final journey, 50 years after his death," 6 June 2018 Simply put, America wants blacks and minorities to suffer in silence. Napoleon Harris Iii, Daily Southtown, "Protest policy shows how the NFL has become truly un-American," 2 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The most emphatic supporters of women's right to drive, however, have been silenced. Aya Batrawy, The Christian Science Monitor, "Saudi Arabia’s 'driving ban' is finally lifted," 25 June 2018 Godín is a terrier on the backline, and will relish the challenge of silencing the home crowd. Jonathan Tannenwald, Philly.com, "World Cup game times: Spain, Portugal look to win Group B, Russia-Uruguay to settle Group A," 24 June 2018 To an entire police state of silencing and off-roading content. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Symone D. Sanders Thinks the End of Net Neutrality Is a Threat to Activists and Candidates," 11 June 2018 But when the animus is leveled back at him, the nation's leader has a habit of silencing those critics by blocking them. David Pierson, latimes.com, "Trump blocking his critics on Twitter violates 1st Amendment, judge rules," 23 May 2018 The filmmakers mostly don’t artificially amplify or silence the world, but characters are so quiet that any sound at ordinary volume becomes a jump scare. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "A Quiet Place blends horror and drama in a silent world," 5 Apr. 2018 The Phillies offense was silenced by deGrom for eight innings. Matt Breen, Philly.com, "Phillies fall to Mets on homer in 10th inning, waste Vince Velasquez's strong outing," 11 July 2018 Blocking numbers on your cell won’t silence solicitors either. Sara Clemence, WSJ, "4 Smartphone Apps That Aggressively Block Spam Calls," 5 July 2018 That may or may not silence a growing army of skeptics, including an army of short sellers with more than $10 billion dollars on the line. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "The Agility, Persistence, and Pain Behind Tesla’s Model 3 Manufacturing Turnaround," 1 July 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

9 Oct 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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