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

Eventually, Sam broke from his silence when his father’s clan brother heard of Sam’s work. Ben Hohenstatt, The Seattle Times, "Tlingit storyteller on a mission to reinter Alaska Native remains," 24 Nov. 2018 On Sunday, Taylor Swift broke her political silence with a lengthy Instagram post endorsing Democratic nominees in her home state of Tennessee and encouraging her followers (all 112 million of them) to register to vote. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Taylor Swift's Political Post Was Followed by a Huge Surge in Voter Registration," 9 Oct. 2018 So Willam broke his long silence on his disqualification and tweeted Leslie a four-page tea-spilling explanation as to why he was eliminated, including his fights with the crew, leaving his hotel room, stealing objects from the set and more. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Leslie Jones' 14 Best Fangirl Tweets About 'RuPaul's Drag Race'," 11 July 2018 Photos Courtesy of from Michel Eric Gaillard On Saturday, after more than a day of protests, Moïse finally broke his silence on the unrest in a national address. Jacqueline Charles, miamiherald, "Flights slowly resume in Haiti after gas price hike reversed but tensions remain high," 8 July 2018 Their silence strikes me as much as their height and girth. Robert Earle Howells, SFChronicle.com, "Should we hide the locations of Earth’s greatest trees?," 3 July 2018 Thorpe sends his friend and fellow Liberal MP Peter Bessell to collect his letters to Scott and to pay him for his silence. Julie Miller, HWD, "The Secret, Real-Life Love Affair Behind A Very English Scandal," 1 July 2018 Against this alarming backdrop, my silence started to feel like a holdover from a safer time. Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, "Cindi Leive, Susan Collins, Serena Williams: Broadsheet July 2," 1 July 2018 So awful that my colleagues still don't understand their unconscionable silence has become a green light for would-be shooters, who perceive inaction as endorsement. Ruth Bruno, courant.com, "What They're Saying About The Maryland Newsroom Shooting," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Update 2, 9:40am ET, Aug. 3: NBCSports' ProFootballTalk blog notes that Kaepernick's name was similarly silenced in last year's Madden 18. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "EA issues apology after removing Kaepernick’s name from song in Madden 19 [Updated]," 3 Aug. 2018 But abuse victims have nevertheless fretted that their voices will again be silenced. Philly.com, "Current and former clergy members behind push to block report on clergy sex abuse," 5 July 2018 The silver lining in all this for pro-life advocates is the resolve of courageous students who refuse to be silenced and who are learning how to engage effectively and lovingly even in hostile environments. Kristan Hawkins, WSJ, "Campus Censorship Hits Pro-Lifers Hard," 21 May 2018 But the ultimate societal effect is that women are being silenced. Rena Gross, Billboard, "'The Handmaid's Tale': Season 2, Episode 2 Recap - 10 Lingering Takeaways from 'Unwomen'," 26 Apr. 2018 Lifting silences my internal chatter and teaches me to savor the process of working out. Melissa Pandika, SELF, "Lifting Heavy Weights Is My Favorite Way to Help Manage My Anxiety," 16 Nov. 2018 Photo: Elise Amendola/Associated Press Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. homered off Jansen with two outs in the eighth, silencing the crowd of 53,114 and rendering Buehler’s brilliance irrelevant. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Dodgers Beat Red Sox, Eventually, in Longest-Ever World Series Game," 27 Oct. 2018 Khashoggi moved to Washington after Crown Prince Mohammed began a kingdomwide anti-corruption crackdown, including efforts to silence dissidents. David D. Kirkpatrick, The Seattle Times, "Interrogation gone wrong, rogue killers: What happened to Saudi journalist?," 16 Oct. 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

4 Dec 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

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