Definition of silence in English:


Syllabification: si·lence
Pronunciation: /ˈsīləns


1Complete absence of sound: sirens pierce the silence of the night an eerie silence descended over the house
More example sentences
  • She got up slowly and walked along the hallway, and for some reason she was glad of the eerie silence and peacefulness.
  • The most underrated element in modern cinema is the sound of silence.
  • Unlocking the main door, I step in, taking off my shoes, despite the eerie silence, despite the fear caused by the absence of lights in the hall.
1.1The fact or state of abstaining from speech: Karen had withdrawn into sullen silence she was reduced to silence for a moment
More example sentences
  • I turned and looked at the ground where Jared lay in silence but his silence was broken every few seconds with spasms of laughter.
  • They rode in silence, Cora's a happy and blissful silence, Arlan's a sulky, resentful silence.
  • They sat in silence for a moment, and this silence was uncomfortable.
1.2The avoidance of mentioning or discussing something: politicians keep their silence on the big questions
More example sentences
  • Please explain as your secrecy and silence is creating a crescendo of innuendo.
  • The silence of politicians to this scandal is astounding.
  • The alternative is silence: secrecy when self-imposed, censorship when imposed by others.
1.3The state of standing still and not speaking as a sign of respect for someone deceased or in an opportunity for prayer: a moment of silence presided over by a local minister
More example sentences
  • A short silence in memory of the tsunami victims was observed at the start of the January meeting.
  • As we sat in the departure lounge at the airport there was a national moment of silence to honor the dead.
  • Some shops are also planning to shut down as a mark of respect, while others are considering a two-minute silence at 11.30 am.


[with object] Back to top  
1Cause to become silent; prohibit or prevent from speaking: the team’s performance silenced their critics freedom of the press cannot be silenced by tanks
More example sentences
  • The 4-0 performance was also one Parsley hopes will silence the critics.
  • His answer is as refreshing as it has been, by his account, effective in silencing the critics.
  • Instead of silencing his critics, it's more likely to provide them with further ammunition.
quiet, hush, shush; gag, muzzle, censorstop, put an end to, put a stop to
1.1 (usually as adjective silenced) Fit (a gun or other loud mechanism) with a silencer: a silenced .22 rifle
More example sentences
  • The noise signature has been reduced with engine and exhaust silencing systems.
  • He had just silenced the gun when he was killed instantly by a burst from a machine pistol.
muffle, deaden, soften, mute, smother, dampen, damp down, mask, suppress, reduce


Middle English: from Old French, from Latin silentium, from silere 'be silent'.


in silence

Without speech or other sound: we finished our meal in silence
More example sentences
  • We ate in silence except for the sound of crunching of chips and slurping of drinks.
  • He would think in silence, at meals or in bed or during a walk, sometimes jotting an idea down on a piece of paper.
  • We both sat in silence and waited for what seemed to be about an hour for him to come out.

Definition of silence in:

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Word of the day dissonant
Pronunciation: ˈdɪs(ə)nənt
lacking harmony