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Line breaks: si|lence
Pronunciation: /ˈsʌɪləns

Definition of silence in English:


[mass noun]
1Complete absence of sound: sirens pierce the silence of the night [count noun]: 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1.1The fact or state of abstaining from speech: Karen had withdrawn into sullen silence she was reduced to silence for a moment we finished our meal in silence
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.
1.3 [count noun] A short appointed period of time during which people stand still and do not speak as a sign of respect for a dead person or group of people: the game was preceded by a two-minute silence in his memory
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: she was silenced by the Inspector’s stern look the team’s performance silenced their critics
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.
gag, muzzle, censor, stifle
stop, put an end to, put a stop to, cut short, suppress
1.1 (usually as adjective silenced) Fit (a gun or an exhaust system) 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, tone down, mask, suppress, reduce, abate;
extinguish, kill


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


silence is golden

proverb It’s often wise to say nothing.
Example sentences
  • Somebody told me when I was a little girl that silence is golden.
  • Perhaps it would be better considered a civil sphere - a public sphere - that needs to be cultivated at a time when dissent is so easily viewed as a threat and when, to quote the spectacular movie theater slogan, silence is golden.
  • This week's secretive populace have embraced the concept that silence is golden, so liberating information could be about as easy as extracting Excalibur from the rock.

Definition of silence in:

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