silent treatment


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

Example Sentences

ever since our run-in at the party she's been giving me the silent treatment
Recent Examples on the Web 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 Biden had hoped to discuss having the oil-rich countries increase exports amid soaring gas prices in the U.S. and a ban on imports of Russian gas, but was given the silent treatment for his efforts. Fox News, 14 Oct. 2022 This miscommunication is far too minor and juvenile for anyone to be giving or getting the silent treatment. Annie Lane, cleveland, 12 Aug. 2022 Teammates gave Papierski the silent treatment in the dugout. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, 7 Aug. 2022 The silent treatment and throwing out your things (twice) are abusive. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 20 July 2022 The three homers in the second inning happened so quickly that Reds players didn’t have time to think about giving Fairchild the silent treatment in the dugout, a common way to celebrate a player’s first career homer. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, 14 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'silent treatment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 6 Feb. 2023.

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
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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