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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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 Republicans either be silent or be complicit in the building of the monster that is Trump. ABC News, 12 Sep. 2021 Indeed, Disney and Rice have been silent, failing to answer basic questions about events that have rocked the newsroom. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 2 Sep. 2021 The Mets were silent Wednesday except for a 44-word statement issued via Twitter. Jerry Beach, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 While the Supreme Court may still rule on the measure, which contradicts precedents set by the landmark Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions, the high court has so far been silent. BostonGlobe.com, 1 Sep. 2021 The monks, meanwhile, are silent because of a demon trapped in a cabinet with sensitive hearing. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 29 Aug. 2021 After the coup, the nation’s most respected monk, Ashin Nyanissara, known more commonly as Sitagu Sayadaw, was silent as security forces shot and killed unarmed demonstrators and child bystanders alike. New York Times, 28 Aug. 2021 In the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, many are simply silent while others are expressing surprise. A. J. Caschetta, National Review, 20 Aug. 2021 When the will is silent, then it is interpreted as disposing of all the community property – including the surviving spouse’s share – and that means the surviving spouse is forced to make an election. Dallas News, 8 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, Drake went radio-silent for another two months. Jordan Rose, Variety, 2 Sep. 2021 The Texas law banning most abortions in the state took effect Wednesday, with the Supreme Court silent on an emergency appeal to put the law on hold. Anthony Man, sun-sentinel.com, 1 Sep. 2021 The storied high school’s still-and-silent hallways now gleam in the morning mid-summer sun under a fresh coat of wax. BostonGlobe.com, 15 Aug. 2021 The flu’s lethality and speed seemed to shock the culture silent, forcing people indoors with few ways to communicate. Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2021 After Trump took office in 2017, an online petition was launched to push Disney to keep its animatronic Trump silent, but the effort failed. Fox News, 20 July 2021 After Trump took office in 2017, an online petition was launched to push Disney to keep its animatronic Trump silent, but the effort failed. Mike Schneider, USA TODAY, 20 July 2021 Acceleration is brutal, but seamless and near-silent. Tim Pitt, Robb Report, 2 July 2021 The car ride back to Connie’s after service was tomb-silent. J. M. Holmes, The New Yorker, 10 May 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near silent

silenic

silent

silent area

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Statistics for silent

Last Updated

15 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Silent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/silent. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for silent

silent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of silent

: not speaking or making noise : quiet
: 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

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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