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
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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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 Players knelt inside the stadium before the game to show support for the movement, and a 15-second moment of silence was held before the game. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Amid pandemic and protests, Lynn Family Stadium gives LouCity 'a place that we can call home'," 12 July 2020 The move came after Murphy, a Democrat, tweeted a photo of himself observing a moment of silence for George Floyd from behind the wooden desk. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "'The right thing to do': New Jersey governor ditches desk belonging to Woodrow Wilson," 30 June 2020 As the players took the field, the PA announcer also announced that the starting players on both sides would take a knee and partake in a moment of silence together in support of the Black Lives Matter message and movement. oregonlive, "Portland Thorns, North Carolina Courage players kneel together in protest during national anthem as NWSL returns," 27 June 2020 The moment of silence -- in which all 22 starting players knelt – came before the Courage vs. Thorns FC match at Zions Bank Stadium in Salt Lake City. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "NWSL players wear 'Black Lives Matter' shirts, kneel before first game of Challenge Cup," 27 June 2020 After a moment of silence in honor of Guillen, speakers shared stories and attendees made signs to tape around campus that condemned UWM for not taking action against Schoeller. Jessica Rodriguez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dozens gather at UWM demanding termination of senior lecturer," 9 July 2020 Nearly 200 players took the field for an 8-minute, 46-second moment of silence to protest racial injustice before Major League Soccer’s return to action. Mark Long, Houston Chronicle, "MLS returns to action after poignant moment of silence," 8 July 2020 Instead, classroom debates on political issues — common until recently — have been replaced by silence on the most consequential changes since the city's 1997 handover to China. Washington Post, "Teachers face threats, books are banned as China pushes party line in Hong Kong schools," 7 July 2020 The meeting opened with board President Julie Glavin requesting a moment of silence in memory of Regano. Ed Wittenberg, cleveland, "Bolden named interim superintendent of Solon Schools; only title changes," 7 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb It was seen as an attempt to silence Campbell, and the post drew hundreds of angry comments and calls to boycott the restaurant. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "Black workers report patterns of racial discrimination in Bay Area restaurant industry," 7 July 2020 Several prominent pundits in conservative media rushed to the website's defense and accused Google of attempting to silence right-leaning viewpoints or ideas. Dominick Mastrangelo, Washington Examiner, "'Begging for the feds to crack down': Google flirting with destruction by demonetizing websites over comment sections, New York Post says," 17 June 2020 The top party official was accused of agitating and attempting to silence demonstrators – dispatching hundreds of riot police and rounding up scores of villages. Fox News, "China appoints Communist Party hardliner to oversee Hong Kong's new security office," 4 July 2020 While Lady Day was loved by many at home and overseas, the feds, specifically Harry J. Anslinger, the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, were determined to silence the singer. Taiia Smart Young, Essence, "Lee Daniels’s Billie Holiday Movie Was Scooped Up in An 8-Figure Deal," 2 July 2020 Developing an electric truck with matching or even similar performance capability—let alone range—is a bold undertaking, but with this video Ford seemed poised to silence the haters. Maxwell B. Mortimer, Car and Driver, "See Some of the Ford F-150's Craziest Stunts and Maneuvers," 26 June 2020 Historians and activists say these monuments, erected at the height of the Civil Rights movement, were attempts to whitewash the history of the Civil War and silence those fighting for their rights almost a century later. Grace Oldham, The Arizona Republic, "Some Arizona veterans call on Ducey to remove Confederate monument," 25 June 2020 These extremists cannot be allowed to silence peaceful protests or inflict violence. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "1 Person Shot in New Mexico During a Protest Against a Statue of a Controversial Conquistador," 16 June 2020 Conservatives should speak out against progressive attempts to silence conservative voices. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Mike Lee rebuts Tucker Carlson claim that he is cozy with Big Tech companies," 19 June 2020

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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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

1 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Silence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/silence. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for silence

silence

noun
How to pronounce silence (audio)

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.
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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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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