Share this entry

Share this page

cone of silence

Syllabification: cone of si·lence

Definition of cone of silence in English:

noun

1An imaginary device that prevents eavesdropping on a private conversation.
Example sentences
  • Residents and the media were denied access to the roads that service the area, creating a virtual cone of silence.
  • So the closet in professional sport is literally a massive cone of silence and the door swings both ways in gender bias.
  • However he might be advised to use the cone of silence from time to time.
1.1An electronic device or isolated room intended for the same purpose.
Example sentences
  • The cone of silence, called Babble, is actually a device composed of a sound processor and several speakers that multiply and scramble voices that come within its range.
2A directive that prohibits oral communication about a specified subject.
Example sentences
  • Adding to the intrigue is ‘NW owner Corus' dropping of the cone of silence on the affair.
  • The latter may well involve the use of firewalls, cones of silence, and other appropriate techniques.
  • Less amusing is the cone of silence too often used these days by public companies.
2.1An agreement or conspiracy to maintain secrecy about a subject.
Example sentences
  • Since we have pre-paid parking, I should be able to get out fast afterwards and maintain the cone of silence concerning the game's result until I get safely home.
  • But he tosses aside the cone of silence that party faithful maintain around their president.
  • Will the scandal - and CBS's reluctant willingness to break the cone of silence about the use of torture - finally lead to a serious investigation?

Origin

1960s: originally a fantasy prop in the television series Get Smart.

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day raconteur
Pronunciation: ˌrakˌänˈtər
noun
a person who tells anecdotes skillfully and amusingly…