silent

adjective
si·​lent | \ ˈsī-lənt How to pronounce silent (audio) \

Definition of silent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : making no utterance : not speaking or making noise He was silent for a full minute, as he often is when answering a hard question.— Nick Seitz They all fell silent, looking rather scared.— J. K. Rowling
b : tending to speak very little : not loquacious As a former silent person, part of me gravitates to talkers.— Georgia Brown When ABC's promos boast the crime unit portrayed here is not "your father's FBI," it's insinuating that dad's FBI agents were balding, nerdy guys or the stereotypical strong, silent types.— Ken Parish Perkins
2 : free from sound or noise : still The house was eerily silent.
3 : performed or borne without utterance : unspoken silent prayer silent grief
4a : making no mention history is silent about this person
b : not widely or generally known or appreciated the silent pressures on a person in public office
c : making no protest or outcry the silent majority
5 : unpronounced the silent b in doubt
6 medical
a(1) : not exhibiting or producing the usual signs or symptoms of presence silent urinary tract infections A "silent stroke" has none of the warning signs of a larger stroke: severe headaches, dizziness, loss of motor skills. Often victims do not realize they have had strokes.— Alisha Berger
(2) : relating to or being an infectious disease or pathogen that spreads undetected within a population Chlamydia can cause fertility problems for women, but is generally asymptomatic, meaning the infection presents no immediate symptoms, said Dr. James Gaskell, health commissioner for the Athens City-County Health Department. As a result, it spreads quickly in dense populations like college campuses, he said. "It's a silent spreader, if you will," Gaskell said.— Sam Howard
b : being, involving, or caused by an asymptomatic or presymptomatic infectious individual silent spread/transmission of contagious disease Since a novel coronavirus first made its presence known in China, public health officials around the world have had one fervent hope: That people who are infected but not sick would pass the virus to others only rarely. That would give these silent spreaders no more than a bit part in driving a global outbreak. That hope is in danger of being dashed.— Melissa Healy
7a : made without spoken dialogue silent movies
b : of or relating to silent movies

silent

noun

Definition of silent (Entry 2 of 2)

: a motion picture made without spoken dialogue usually used in plural

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Other Words from silent

Adjective

silently adverb
silentness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for silent

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for silent

Adjective

silent, taciturn, reticent, reserved, secretive mean showing restraint in speaking. silent implies a habit of saying no more than is needed. the strong, silent type taciturn implies a temperamental disinclination to speech and usually connotes unsociability. taciturn villagers reticent implies a reluctance to speak out or at length, especially about one's own affairs. was reticent about his plans reserved implies reticence and suggests the restraining influence of caution or formality in checking easy informal conversational exchange. greetings were brief, formal, and reserved secretive, too, implies reticence but usually carries a suggestion of deviousness and lack of frankness or of an often ostentatious will to conceal. the secretive research and development division

Examples of silent in a Sentence

Adjective She was silent for a few minutes as she thought about how to answer him. The crowd fell silent as the horrible news was read aloud. My father was a very silent man. He was the strong, silent type. He said he would call me, but the phone was silent all day. A long, silent pause followed her reply. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The newsletter Popular Information reported that public relations firm Zeno, an adviser to major corporations and a subset of Edelman Holdings, advised its clients to stay silent on the Supreme Court’s draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 9 May 2022 The ports director has invoked her right to remain silent. Washington Post, 7 May 2022 During the restraining order hearing, Bauer declined to testify, exercising his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Gus Garcia-roberts, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Apr. 2022 Companies will therefore face a difficult choice: stand up for their employees and face possible consequences from Republicans -- or remain silent and face a potential worker exodus. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 4 May 2022 The Fifth Amendment says people accused of crimes have the right to remain silent to avoid self incrimination. Alex Mann, Baltimore Sun, 4 May 2022 Lined up single file, they were told to place one hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them, and remain silent. James E. Causey, jsonline.com, 25 Apr. 2022 In the Mason amusement park's opening weekend alone, the Warren County Communication Center received 15 hang-up 911 calls and 128 calls that were silent, Warren County Emergency Management Agency Director Melissa Bour said. Victoria Moorwood, The Enquirer, 22 Apr. 2022 The Laundries were exercising their constitutional right to remain silent, Bertolino has argued. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 14 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There will be no external lighting on the property with the solar farm quiet during the day and silent at night, according to the SunVest slideshow. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Apr. 2022 The raccoon, an escapee from the Zoological Society, chewed through a wire, leaving Hendrix’s guitar silent. Jake Goldwasser, The New Yorker, 7 Apr. 2022 After Peaky Blinders season 5 wrapped up in August 2019 and debuted on Netflix later that fall in October, the Irish-Romani gang went radio silent. Katherine Tinsley, Good Housekeeping, 24 Mar. 2022 Give yourself permission to check out from life and leave your phone on silent. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, 8 Mar. 2022 If the mere mention of crushes renders your child silent, have the conversation anyway. Elissa Strauss, CNN, 26 Mar. 2022 The trail was almost entirely devoid of people, the forest silent save the roaring of water. oregonlive, 16 Mar. 2022 The near-silent speedster soared to over 35 knots (40 mph) during testing. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 4 Mar. 2022 Murphy also slammed Mayor Tom Barrett for remaining silent on the issues in the City Attorney's Office even as the DNS commissioner, a member of Barrett's cabinet, has detailed the challenges her office was facing under questioning by Murphy. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 29 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'silent.' 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 silent

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1929, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for silent

Adjective

Middle English sylent, from Latin silent-, silens, from present participle of silēre to be silent; akin to Goth anasilan to cease, grow calm

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Time Traveler for silent

Time Traveler

The first known use of silent was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near silent

silenic

silent

silent area

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Statistics for silent

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Silent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/silent. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for silent

silent

adjective
si·​lent | \ ˈsī-lənt How to pronounce silent (audio) \

Kids Definition of silent

1 : not speaking He stood silent for a moment, and then answered.
2 : not talkative a silent person
3 : free from noise or sound : still Except for a ticking clock the house was silent.
4 : done or felt without being spoken silent reading silent prayer
5 : making no mention They were silent about their plan.
6 : not in operation silent factories
7 : not pronounced The letter e in "came" is silent.
8 : made without spoken dialogue silent movies

Other Words from silent

silently adverb

silent

adjective
si·​lent | \ ˈsī-lənt How to pronounce silent (audio) \

Medical Definition of silent

1 : not exhibiting or producing the usual signs or symptoms of presence a silent urinary tract infection silent gallstones silent ischemia
2 : relating to or being an infectious disease or pathogen that spreads undetected within a population Chlamydia can cause fertility problems for women, but is generally asymptomatic, meaning the infection presents no immediate symptoms, said Dr. James Gaskell, health commissioner for the Athens City-County Health Department. As a result, it spreads quickly in dense populations like college campuses, he said. "It's a silent spreader, if you will, Gaskell said.— Sam Howard
3 : being, involving, or caused by an asymptomatic or presymptomatic infectious individual silent spread/transmission of infectious disease silent spreaders of contagious disease
4 : yielding no detectable response to stimulation used especially of an association area of the brain silent cortex
5 : having no detectable function or effect silent DNA silent genes

Other Words from silent

silently adverb

silent

adjective
si·​lent

Legal Definition of silent

1 : making no utterance : resolved not to speak especially about a certain topic the right to remain silent
2 : making no mention or account : omitting explanation and leaving questions unanswered a criminal statute silent as to the requirement of intent
3 : taking no active part in the conduct of a business a silent member of a firm — see also silent partner at partner

More from Merriam-Webster on silent

Nglish: Translation of silent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of silent for Arabic Speakers

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