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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In one case described in Inc magazine, Japanese negotiators were totally silent for 20 minutes before completely agreeing to the terms of the deal. Anne Quito, Quartz, "Silence is the most misunderstood negotiation superpower," 8 Apr. 2021 Reyerson said Floyd fell silent at 8:24 p.m. and stopped moving a minute later. Chao Xiong, Star Tribune, "Forensic evidence in Chauvin trial shows fentanyl, meth mixed with Floyd's DNA in pill found in squad," 7 Apr. 2021 There’s a cultural reckoning upon us, and Black executives can no longer keep silent. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "Dozens Of Black Executives Call on Corporations to Fight Restrictive Voting Bills," 6 Apr. 2021 That airport, which normally welcomes millions of tourists a year, then funnels them across the islands of Hawaii's fabled archipelago, has been predictably silent for much of the past year. Whitney Robinson, Travel + Leisure, "Here’s Where to Find the Best Handmade Crafts on Oahu, From Jewelry to Ukuleles to Panama Hats," 22 Mar. 2021 And while no air purifier is completely silent, the goal is to help shoppers find a model that releases a pleasant or non-intrusive sound, one that can easily fade into the background and won’t cause distraction. Hanna Horvath, NBC News, "5 best quiet air purifiers of 2021, according to experts," 17 Mar. 2021 President Biden, who was notably silent as members of his party turned on Cuomo, declined to call for the governor's resignation before the investigations' findings are released when asked for comment Sunday evening. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "Cuomo accuser says governor was 'aroused' during long hug," 16 Mar. 2021 Battery-electric buses are nearly silent when operating at low speeds. Drake Bentley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee County Transit System contracts Nova Bus to create all-electric buses," 15 Mar. 2021 The room is silent except for the hiss and buzz of machines. USA Today, "‘No one has been trained for this much death.’ In a COVID ICU, hospital workers struggle with trauma and grief.," 12 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Instead the Seahawks went radio silent and didn’t sign one player on Day 1. oregonlive, "NFL free agency 2021: Justin Herbert, Seattle Seahawks, Marcus Mariota among the winners and losers after Day 1," 16 Mar. 2021 The Chinese hackers Exchange exploitation spree appears to have begun only months ago, in contrast to the Russia's silent, year-plus SolarWinds espionage campaign. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "Chinese Hacking Spree Hit an ‘Astronomical’ Number of Victims," 5 Mar. 2021 But as Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater across the street went dark, the gay bar silent and the Tower District’s lively sidewalks emptied, the devout continued to meet for months, drawing local ire. Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times, "Backlash in Fresno as evangelical church tries to buy Tower Theatre, a bohemian landmark," 28 Feb. 2021 In a Star Tribune report, longtime Republican Andy Brehm has rightly called out the members of Congress for remaining silent. Star Tribune, "Trump still controls Minnesota's GOP congressional delegation," 12 Dec. 2020 Your responsibility: In EV mode, the Hummer promises near-silent off-roading, taking you to remote spots without shattering their serenity. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "WTF, plus 3 other reasons the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup will be a hit," 21 Oct. 2020 At this point, staying silent is a political stance. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, "Fort Worth biscuit restaurant removes hip-hop references from menu after social media backlash," 9 June 2020 Even Jones’s strong-but-silent Phillip creates a vivid comic character; McNamara’s Alana, meantime, is a superb manifestation of neurotic solipsism. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "‘Slave Play’ is a funny, scalding, walk along the boundary between black and white in America," 6 Oct. 2019 With two kids in tow and one on the way, the challenge of staying silent is amplified (pun intended). Joyce Bautista Ferrari, Marie Claire, "The Best Horror Movies That Aren't Too Scary," 1 Oct. 2019

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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Statistics for silent

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Silent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/silent. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for silent

silent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of silent

: not speaking or making noise
: tending not to talk much
: not having or making any sound or noise

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

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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

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Comments on silent

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