1

silent

adjective si·lent \ ˈsī-lənt \

Definition of silent

1 a :making no utterance :mute, speechless
b :indisposed to speak :not loquacious
2 :free from sound or noise :still
3 :performed or borne without utterance :unspoken
  • silent prayer
  • silent grief
4 a :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 :not exhibiting the usual signs or symptoms of presence
  • a silent infection
7 a :made without spoken dialogue
  • silent movies
b :of or relating to silent movies

silently

adverb

silentness

noun

Examples of silent in a Sentence

  1. She was silent for a few minutes as she thought about how to answer him.

  2. The crowd fell silent as the horrible news was read aloud.

  3. My father was a very silent man.

  4. He was the strong, silent type.

  5. He said he would call me, but the phone was silent all day.

  6. A long, silent pause followed her reply.

Recent Examples of silent from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of silent

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

Synonym Discussion of silent

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

2

silent

noun

Definition of silent

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

Recent Examples of silent from the Web

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.

First Known Use of silent

1929



SILENT Defined for English Language Learners

silent

adjective

Definition of silent for English Language Learners

  • : not speaking or making noise

  • : tending not to talk much

  • : not having or making any sound or noise


SILENT Defined for Kids

silent

adjective si·lent \ ˈsī-lənt \

Definition of silent for Students

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

silently

adverb

Medical Dictionary

silent

adjective si·lent \ ˈsī-lənt \

medical Definition of silent

1 :not exhibiting the usual signs or symptoms of presence
  • a silent infection
  • silent gallstones
  • silent tuberculosis
  • silent ischemia
2 :yielding no detectable response to stimulation used especially of an association area of the brain
  • silent cortex
3 :having no detectable function or effect
  • silent DNA
  • silent genes

silently

adverb

Law Dictionary

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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