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Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near silent

Cite this Entry

“Silent.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on silent

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