Synonyms & Antonyms of silent

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 deliberately refraining from speech
  • the suddenly silent child had to be prompted to say hello

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2 tending not to speak frequently (as by habit or inclination)
  • a naturally silent boy, he was often overshadowed by his louder siblings

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3 mostly or entirely without sound
  • the room was so silent that you could have heard the proverbial pin drop

Synonyms for silent

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Antonyms for silent



Synonyms of silent (Entry 2 of 2)

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Frequently Asked Questions About silent

How is the word silent distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of silent are reserved, reticent, secretive, and taciturn. While all these words mean "showing restraint in speaking," silent implies a habit of saying no more than is needed.

the strong, silent type

Where would reserved be a reasonable alternative to silent?

Although the words reserved and silent have much in common, reserved implies reticence and suggests the restraining influence of caution or formality in checking easy informal conversational exchange.

greetings were brief, formal, and reserved

When is reticent a more appropriate choice than silent?

The words reticent and silent are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, reticent implies a reluctance to speak out or at length, especially about one's own affairs.

was reticent about his plans

When might secretive be a better fit than silent?

In some situations, the words secretive and silent are roughly equivalent. However, 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

When can taciturn be used instead of silent?

The words taciturn and silent can be used in similar contexts, but taciturn implies a temperamental disinclination to speech and usually connotes unsociability.

taciturn villagers

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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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Thesaurus Entries Near silent



silent auction

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Cite this Entry

“Silent.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on silent

Nglish: Translation of silent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of silent for Arabic Speakers


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