silence

1 of 2

noun

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

2 of 2

verb

silenced; silencing

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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Polish lawmakers observed a minute of silence Wednesday in memory of the two citizens who were killed by the blast in the village of Przewodów. NBC News, 16 Nov. 2022 The poignant moment of reflection takes place every year at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, beginning with two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. before the service commences and wreaths are laid. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, 13 Nov. 2022 The Princess and Queen Consort Camilla stood together as the moment was marked by two minutes of silence. Aimée Lutkin, ELLE, 13 Nov. 2022 Their husbands, Prince William and King Charles, laid wreaths at the memorial during the service, which also included a two-minute moment of silence at 11 a.m. local time. Stephanie Petit, Peoplemag, 13 Nov. 2022 Former longtime Georgia coach and athletic director Vince Dooley, who died at 90 on Oct. 28, will be remembered in a moment of silence before the game. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 5 Nov. 2022 After thousands of years of silence, the tomb had visitors. Jo Marchant, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Nov. 2022 After months of silence about the true number of casualties, both CIA Director William Burns and British Intelligence Chief Richard Moore indicated that Russia lost around 15,000 troops over the first five months of the invasion. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 3 Nov. 2022 The silence in Westminster Hall was briefly broken Friday when a man lunged at the coffin. Jill Lawless, Fortune, 18 Sep. 2022
Verb
Today, Heller’s work with Sollis Health aims to remove the shame, stigma, and silence around chronic and invisible health conditions. Arden Fanning Andrews, Vogue, 14 Nov. 2022 But how exactly does this technology work to silence the outside world while playing your favorite music or podcast? Sarah Title, Peoplemag, 14 Nov. 2022 The viewer never sees any public opposition to Precrime, or to the brutal tactics employed by its agency; propagandistic commercials boasting about the end of murder are seemingly enough to silence any protest. David Sims, The Atlantic, 14 June 2022 But the Giants did just enough to silence the crowd. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Oct. 2021 Invoking his right to silence in a civil trial would work against Trump. Kevin Mccoy, USA TODAY, 3 Nov. 2022 Brakefield spoke about defamatory actions the Church has allegedly taken to silence its enemies, which ranged from personal attacks to publishing hate websites. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 31 Oct. 2022 The regime has survived street protests before, by using violence, imprisonment and censorship to silence dissent. Dan De Luce, NBC News, 29 Oct. 2022 The ruling came in response to a motion to dismiss filed by an attorney for the mother, Julie Craig, under the Citizen Participation Act, a 2007 state law designed to prevent public figures from using the courts to silence critics. Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, 28 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near silence

Cite this Entry

“Silence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/silence. Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

silence 1 of 2

noun

si·​lence ˈsī-lən(t)s How to pronounce silence (audio)
1
: the state of keeping or being silent
often used as an interjection
"Silence!" demanded the maestro
2
: the state of there being no sound or noise : stillness
in the silence of the night
3
a
: a state of not mentioning
b
: secrecy sense 2
research done in silence

silence

2 of 2

verb

silenced; silencing
1
: to stop the noise or speech of : cause to be silent
silenced the class
2
: suppress sense 1
silencing opposing views

Medical Definition

silence

transitive verb

si·​lence ˈsī-lən(t)s How to pronounce silence (audio)
silenced; silencing
: to block the genetic expression of : suppress
the gene was silenced using the technique of RNA interference

Legal Definition

silence

noun

si·​lence
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

More from Merriam-Webster on silence

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