silent treatment


: an act of completely ignoring a person or thing by resort to silence especially as a means of expressing contempt or disapproval

Examples of silent treatment in a Sentence

ever since our run-in at the party she's been giving me the silent treatment
Recent Examples on the Web My partner is not physically abusive but checks a lot of other boxes: yelling, vicious anger, name-calling, silent treatments. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2024 Instead, some of us learn to resort to cattiness, silent treatments, passive aggression, and the 'mean-girl' behaviours thought to be inherent to being female. Natalie Gil,, 11 July 2023 The team gave Diaz the trademark silent treatment at first, before mobbing him in front of the television cameras and joining in on the celebration. Josh Criswell, Chron, 14 May 2023 That silent treatment should end today. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 23 Mar. 2021 After that first homer, did anyone in the dugout give you the silent treatment? Dallas News, 15 Sep. 2022 Other countries that recently elected right-wing governments, such as Italy or Sweden, haven’t seen their leaders get the silent treatment from Washington. Eugene Kontorovich, WSJ, 7 Nov. 2022 Girl-on-girl aggression definitely happens — anyone who’s lived through middle school (or seen the movie Mean Girls) can attest to things like excluding girls from a group, giving someone the silent treatment, gossiping or divulging secrets. Lisa Raffensperger, Discover Magazine, 28 Oct. 2013 That is the adverse outcome of the silent treatment of AI Ethics worker burnout. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'silent treatment.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1825, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of silent treatment was in 1825

Dictionary Entries Near silent treatment

Cite this Entry

“Silent treatment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

silent treatment

: an act of completely ignoring a person or thing by being silent especially as a means of expressing contempt or disapproval
gave him the silent treatment after their breakup
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