Definition of quiet in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkwʌɪət/

adjective (quieter, quietest)

1Making little or no noise: the car has a quiet, economical engine I was as quiet as I could be, but he knew I was there
More example sentences
  • Already, she could hear the quiet, muffled noise of violins and people talking.
  • There is something very peaceful and satisfying about the sound of their quiet munching and the noise of their feet on frosty grass.
  • You can reduce this noise by selecting quiet equipment or by mounting the unit on a noise-absorbing base.
silent, still, hushed, noiseless, soundless;
mute, dumb, speechless, voiceless, unspeaking
soft, low, lowered, muted, muffled, faint, indistinct, inaudible, dull;
hushed, whispered, stifled, suppressed
1.1(Of a place, period of time, or situation) without much activity, disturbance, or excitement: the street below was quiet, little traffic braving the snow
More example sentences
  • Yet, not all places were quiet and devoid of activity on Tuesday.
  • She also blames the row on the media desperately looking for an argument in the quiet holiday period.
  • By the time the outcome is known, we will have entered the traditionally quiet summer period that usually lasts from May to September.
1.2Without being disturbed or interrupted: all he wanted was a quiet drink
More example sentences
  • Already, a quiet drink in the pub is forever interrupted by people rattling charity boxes.
  • It has emerged that the hotel was one of the establishments the prince favoured when he wanted to enjoy a quiet drink away from his security guards and the prying eyes of tourists.
  • It meant all thoughts of a quiet drink were shattered.
2Carried out discreetly, secretly, or with moderation: we wanted a quiet wedding I’ll have a quiet word with him
More example sentences
  • His third wedding was quiet and private, with only his closest friends invited.
  • I went to my secret spot, a quiet beach in Madh Island and cried my heart out.
  • There are several white marble benches to sit on to enjoy the quiet beauty of this secret garden.
private, confidential, secret, discreet, unofficial, off the record, between ourselves, between you and me (and the bedpost/gatepost/doorpost/wall)
2.1(Of a person) mild and reserved by nature: his quiet, middle-aged parents
More example sentences
  • He was quite a reserved, quiet chap, more of a listener than a talker, perhaps.
  • You are more quiet and reserved in front of strangers, but around some people you open up.
  • Chris, a fairly reserved and quiet fellow, is going to have to learn what it means to be talked to all the time.
calm, equable, serene, composed, {cool, calm, and collected}, placid, untroubled, peaceful, peaceable, tranquil, gentle, mild, phlegmatic, imperturbable, unexcitable;
moderate, reserved, uncommunicative, unresponsive, taciturn, secretive, withdrawn, silent;
meek, mousy, retiring, reticent, unforthcoming, shy, self-effacing, diffident, modest, temperate, restrained, unassuming, unassertive, unemotional
informal unflappable
rare equanimous
2.2Expressed in a restrained or understated way: Molly spoke with quiet confidence
More example sentences
  • Simple chords, restrained riffs and quiet imagery lead to just a perfect pathos running through each and every song.
  • This is not a restrained man of quiet honour, but a proud warrior of the sea - hair flowing in the breeze.
  • Indeed, in their own quiet, understated way, that's what they've always done.
2.3(Of a colour or garment) unobtrusive; not bright or showy.
unobtrusive, unostentatious, unpretentious, restrained, reserved;
soft, pale, pastel, muted, understated, subdued, subtle, low-key, conservative, sober, plain, ordinary


[mass noun]
1Absence of noise or bustle; silence; calm: the ringing of the telephone shattered the early morning quiet
More example sentences
  • The pace is dictated by the early morning quiet of a misty golf course laid out along Georgia's ocean coast.
  • However, in order to do that, you have got to have relative calm or quiet.
  • We were rewarded with the sound of calling Whooping Cranes piercing the quiet of the early morning, then a close fly over.
1.1Freedom from disturbance or interruption by others: he understood her wish for peace and quiet
More example sentences
  • Their need for peace and quiet must be respected.
  • Once the gardens are finished, they will be open to the public free of charge on condition that visitors respect the peace and quiet of the hall as a place of retreat.
  • I was desperate for an evening of peace and quiet, and a bit of easy entertainment, but I was being denied it.
peacefulness, peace and quiet, peace, restfulness, calm, calmness, tranquillity, serenity;
silence, quietness, stillness, still, quietude, hush, noiselessness, soundlessness;
privacy, privateness, seclusion, solitude, isolation, retirement, lack of disturbance/interruption, freedom from interference
1.2A peaceful or settled state of affairs in social or political life: after several months of comparative quiet, the scandal re-erupted in August
More example sentences
  • Has the organisation begun another deadly bombing campaign after some months of relative quiet?
  • There was an audacious attack in broad daylight on the fortified U.S. consulate after months of relative quiet.
  • The brutal crushing of the protests ushered in a period of uneasy quiet in the country's politics.


chiefly North American
Make or become silent, calm, or still: [with object]: there are ways of quieting kids down [no object]: the journalists quieted down as Judy stepped on to the dais
More example sentences
  • She flashes me a brief look of annoyance, quieting me, then changing her demeanor to once again calm and composed, she continues with her explanation.
  • Soon everybody quieted down, and remained silent as we tried to figure out where to go to next.
  • His silences often precede a weighty thought though I doubt the rattling in his head ever quiets.



do anything for a quiet life

see life.

keep quiet (or keep someone quiet)

Refrain or prevent someone from speaking or from disclosing something secret.
Example sentences
  • The secret that kept him quiet about his brother was frightening.
  • After a dazzling full debut for England, a media boycott kept him quiet.
  • We tended to think the UN was keeping Europe quiet.

keep something quiet (or keep quiet about something)

Refrain from disclosing information about something; keep something secret.
Example sentences
  • What about companies who prefer to keep things quiet as a trade secret?
  • Caillan assures him that he will keep this information quiet.
  • Strauss always kept quiet about the grim secrets in his own family, namely that his father was a domineering bully, while his mother, a severe depressive, was frequently confined in a mental hospital.
secret, top secret, confidential, strictly confidential, classified, unrevealed, undisclosed, unpublished, untold, unknown, uncommunicated, under wraps, unofficial, off the record, not for publication/circulation, not to be made public, not to be disclosed, clandestine, surreptitious;
Latin sub rosa
informal hush-hush, mum

on the quiet

informal Without anyone knowing or noticing; secretly or unobtrusively: the deal was done on the quiet six months ago
More example sentences
  • As her interpreter explained: ‘This thing has been going on here for some time on the quiet.’
  • It's found the perfect cover for lies - appoint someone who's retiring to run your dirty tricks campaign, wash your hands of him after you win the election, and look after your hero on the quiet.
  • He says, ‘I do my bit to improve the world but I think it's very important to get things done on the quiet.’
in secret, secretly, furtively, stealthily, sneakily, slyly, surreptitiously, covertly, clandestinely, on the sly, on the side, behind someone's back, under cover;
under the counter
informal on the q.t.

(as) quiet as the grave

see grave1.

(as) quiet as a mouse (or lamb)

(Of a person or animal) extremely quiet or docile.
Example sentences
  • The faithful animal, which was in general as quiet as a lamb, became like a raging tiger every time he saw the person who had murdered his master.
  • It's only a short while and I'm sure he'll be as quiet as a mouse.
  • He went back to the other children and was as quiet as a mouse, but he kept stealing a glance towards the fireplace.


Middle English (originally as a noun denoting peace as opposed to war): via Old French, based on Latin quies, quiet- 'repose, quiet'.

  • quit from Middle English:

    An Old French word from the same root as quiet, Latin quietus ‘quiet, still, resting’. The first meanings of quit were ‘to pay off a debt’, ‘to repay a service or favour’, and ‘to set free’. It also meant ‘to declare a person not guilty’, a meaning for which we would now use the related word acquit. The modern meanings, ‘to leave, go away’, and ‘to stop doing something’, are from the 17th century. To call it quits is to agree that terms are now equal, especially in the settlement of a debt, or to decide to abandon what you are doing in order to cut your losses. It dates back only to the 1890s and is a fairly informal expression, but an earlier version, cry quits, is recorded from the 1630s and comes from the world of officialdom. Church records of accounts from the late 15th century use the word quits to indicate that money owing to someone has been paid in full. Church business was usually conducted in Latin, and so quits probably arose from a scribe's shortening of the medieval Latin word quittus, meaning ‘discharged’, written on receipts to indicate that the goods had been paid for. Quite, found from the Middle Ages in the sense ‘completely, fully’ is probably from quit. The sense ‘fairly’ does not develop until the 19th century.

Words that rhyme with quiet

Byatt, diet, riot, ryot, Wyatt

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: quiet

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