- making no sound; quiet; still: a silent motor.
- refraining from speech.
- speechless; mute.
- not inclined to speak; taciturn; reticent.
- characterized by absence of speech or sound: a silent prayer.
- unspoken; tacit: a silent assent.
- omitting mention of something, as in a narrative: The records are silent about this crime.
- inactive or quiescent, as a volcano.
- not sounded or pronounced: The “b” in “doubt” is a silent letter.
- Movies. not having spoken dialogue or a soundtrack.
- Medicine/Medical. producing no symptoms: silent gallstones.
- Usually silents. silent films.
Origin of silent
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for silently
Instead, black models are required to remain meekly, silently off stage, waiting for a turn that may never come.One Vogue Cover Doesn’t Solve Fashion’s Big Race Problem
January 2, 2015
Yasin silently drew the string of his bow and let loose an arrow.Inside The Growing Organic Halal Movement
September 7, 2014
Deprived of amplification, he silently stripped down and collapsed onstage.America’s Poets: Battle Rap Gets Real
July 15, 2014
They stared at me silently, then I smiled, and said, “Maybe next time.”Dodging Rockets in Afghanistan as the Taliban’s Fighting Season Begins
May 14, 2014
Silently, he moves to grab a kombo (a whisk broom instrument)—then, softly, he taps her shoulders and head.Hallucinating Away a Heroin Addiction
May 4, 2014
Yates did not like to ask the cause of the delay; so the three sat there silently.
Nothing was said, but they got silently into the boat, which might have been Charon's craft for all he could see of it.
The Nubian silently indicated two of the three hung on his person.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
She silently dropped her money into the chest, and departed.Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. II
Francis Augustus Cox
He was cheerfully, but silently obeyed by more than two hundred men.The Last of the Mohicans
James Fenimore Cooper
- characterized by an absence or near absence of noise or sounda silent house
- tending to speak very little or not at all
- unable to speak
- failing to speak, communicate, etc, when expectedthe witness chose to remain silent
- not spoken or expressedsilent assent
- not active or in operationa silent volcano
- (of a letter) used in the conventional orthography of a word but no longer pronounced in that wordthe ``k'' in ``know'' is silent
- denoting a film that has no accompanying soundtrack, esp one made before 1927, when such soundtracks were developed
- a silent film
Word Origin and History for silently
c.1500, "without speech, silent, not speaking," from Latin silentem (nominative silens) "still, calm, quiet," present participle of silere "be quiet or still" (see silence (n.)). Meaning "free from noise or sound" is from 1580s.
Of letters, c.1600; of films, 1914. In the looser sense "of few words," from 1840. Phrase strong, silent (type) is attested from 1905. Silent majority in the political sense of "mass of people whose moderate views are not publicly expressed and thus overlooked" is first attested 1955 in a British context and was used by John F. Kennedy but is most associated in U.S. with the rhetoric of the Nixon administration (1969-74).
It is time for America's silent majority to stand up for its rights, and let us remember the American majority includes every minority. America's silent majority is bewildered by irrational protest. [Spiro T. Agnew, May 9, 1969]
In Victorian use, the phrase meant "the dead" (1874; cf. Roman use of the noun plural of "silent" to mean "the dead"). Silence is golden (1831) is Carlyle's translation ["Sartor Resartus"] of part of the "Swiss Inscription" Sprechen ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden.
- Producing no detectable signs or symptoms. Used of certain diseases or pathological processes.
- Relating to a mutation that changes a nucleotide in a codon without a difference in the amino acid for which it is coded. See more at point mutation.
- Producing no detectable signs or symptoms, as a medical condition such as heart attack.