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[sahy-loh] /ˈsaɪ loʊ/
noun, plural silos.
a structure, typically cylindrical, in which fodder or forage is kept.
a pit or underground space for storing grain, green feeds, etc.
Military. an underground installation constructed of concrete and steel, designed to house a ballistic missile and the equipment for firing it.
verb (used with object), siloed, siloing.
to put into or preserve in a silo.
Origin of silo
1825-35; < Spanish: place for storing grain, hay, etc., orig. subterranean; ulterior origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for silo
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Having no ceiling or floor, and being built of common material, there is no necessity for the silo being an expensive structure.

  • When used for mixing with corn in a silo, the self-binder is satisfactory.

  • Bundles of corn were chopped by the machine and then conveyed to a fan which blew the ensilage through a pipe into the silo.

    Frying Pan Farm Elizabeth Brown Pryor
  • "It's lucky harvest will be over; silo filling, too," was his only comment.

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • Best methods of building the silo, filling it and feeding ensilage.

    Your Plants James Sheehan
  • Like as not they will be wanting to take me to Hastings because I have built a silo; and then I may take you with me.

    O Pioneers! Willa Cather
  • Just before dawn a terrific bolt of lightning seemed to strike Sam's silo.

    The Great Gray Plague Raymond F. Jones
  • silo Pompædius, the author of the revolt, was killed in an action.

  • If he does not have a silo, some other food can be used in place of the ensilage.

    Agriculture for Beginners Charles William Burkett
British Dictionary definitions for silo


noun (pl) -los
a pit, trench, horizontal container, or tower, often cylindrical in shape, in which silage is made and stored
a strengthened underground position in which missile systems are sited for protection against attack
Word Origin
C19: from Spanish, perhaps from Celtic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for silo

1835, from Spanish silo, traditionally derived from Latin sirum (nominative sirus), from Greek siros "a pit to keep corn in." "The change from r to l in Spanish is abnormal and Greek siros was a rare foreign term peculiar to regions of Asia Minor and not likely to emerge in Castilian Spain" [Barnhart]. Alternatively, the Spanish word is from a pre-Roman Iberian language word represented by Basque zilo, zulo "dugout, cave or shelter for keeping grain." Meaning "underground housing and launch tube for a guided missile" is attested from 1958.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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