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 July 1917, nearly 10,000 Black men, women and children marched down Fifth Avenue in New York in a silent protest, organized by the NAACP to protest anti-Black violence. Suyin Haynes, Time, "How the Fight Against Police Brutality Helped Ignite the LGBTQ-Rights Movement," 19 June 2020 The audience, unique in my experience, is silent at the end, almost unable to applaud the actors. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Revisiting Mengele’s Malignant “Race Science”," 15 June 2020 Some stood over him, sobbing, while others were silent. Kala Kachmar, The Courier-Journal, "Community honors shooting victim David McAtee for 'laying his life down for justice'," 12 June 2020 Neither Cameron nor James were silent earlier this summer, when Brown was caught saying the N-word on Instagram while singing the lyrics to a song. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Everything to Know About Matt James, the First Black Bachelor," 12 June 2020 Biden was silent over the weekend as lawmakers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the site of Floyd's death, debated the idea and protesters painted the new rallying cry on the road leading to the White House. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Biden in a bind over calls to defund the police," 8 June 2020 In a striking silent protest, a U.S. Marine veteran stood in full uniform outside of the Utah State Capitol on Friday for three hours, in the heat, with tape over his mouth. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "U.S. Marine veteran stands outside in the heat for hours with the words "I can't breathe" taped over his mouth," 8 June 2020 Last year, the president was silent when three historically black churches in one Louisiana parish burned in a 10-day span. NBC News, "New York officers could face suspension after street clashes," 6 June 2020 The crowd took a knee along Akard Street outside the Magnolia Hotel for an 8 minute, 46 second silent protest. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Dallas curfew lifted; thousands march peacefully through downtown on 9th day of protests," 6 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Schoenberg, with the aid of two UCLA students, tries out his idea by imagining the events of his life as depicted in different film genres—silents, noir mysteries, Disney cartoons, musicals and westerns. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘Schoenberg in Hollywood’ Review: Grandiose Fantasy," 20 Nov. 2018 And in the midst of Weinstein’s wave of accusers coming forward last year, the mogul was radio silent until actress Lupita Nyong’o shared her own account of his alleged misconduct towards her. Allison Mcgevna, Glamour, "A Year Later, Is the #MeToo Movement Stuck in Hollywood?," 5 Oct. 2018 There were silent and live auctions, with items including jewelry, signed memorabilia from players like Bryce Harper, Jose Altuve, and Ken Griffey Jr., a trip to MLB All-Star week, as well as the ability to donate directly to Team Gleason. David Herder, SI.com, ""This Is Baseball's Disease": ESPN's Jon Sciambi Rallies Names Around Baseball to ALS Gala," 6 June 2018 Barca are remaining silent on the subject of Griezmann's future but it is expected that the Frenchman will complete a move to the Nou Camp this summer, leaving his current employers in desperate need of goals. SI.com, "Atletico Madrid Line Up Move for West Brom Striker as Unlikely Antoine Griezmann Replacement," 26 May 2018 Against the noisiness of a (criminal) minority, Nixon posited the silent, victimized majority, a note his Administration sounded over and over. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "The Rise of the Victims’-Rights Movement," 14 May 2018

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

22 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Silent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/silent. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for silent

silent

adjective
How to pronounce silent (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on silent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for silent

Spanish Central: Translation of silent

Nglish: Translation of silent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of silent for Arabic Speakers

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