(used to express greeting or farewell or to request quietness or silence).

verb (used without object), peaced, peac·ing.

Obsolete. to be or become silent.


    at peace,
    1. in a state or relationship of nonbelligerence or concord; not at war.
    2. untroubled; tranquil; content.
    3. deceased.
    hold/keep one's peace, to refrain from or cease speaking; keep silent: He told her to hold her peace until he had finished.
    keep the peace, to maintain order; cause to refrain from creating a disturbance: Several officers of the law were on hand to keep the peace.
    make one's peace with, to become reconciled with: He repaired the fence he had broken and made his peace with the neighbor on whose property it stood.
    make peace, to ask for or arrange a cessation of hostilities or antagonism.

Origin of peace

1125–75; Middle English pes < Old French, variant of pais < Latin pax (stem pāc-); akin to pact
Related formspeace·less, adjectivepeace·less·ness, nounpeace·like, adjectivenon·peace, nounself-peace, nounsem·i·peace, noun
Can be confusedpeace piece

Synonyms for peace

Antonyms for peace Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for hold one's peace



  1. the state existing during the absence of war
  2. (as modifier)peace negotiations
(modifier) denoting a person or thing symbolizing support for international peacepeace women
(often capital) a treaty marking the end of a war
a state of harmony between people or groups; freedom from strife
law and order within a state; absence of violence or other disturbancea breach of the peace
absence of mental anxiety (often in the phrase peace of mind)
a state of stillness, silence, or serenity
at peace
  1. in a state of harmony or friendship
  2. in a state of serenity
  3. deadthe old lady is at peace now
hold one's peace or keep one's peace to keep silent
keep the peace to maintain or refrain from disturbing law and order
make one's peace with to become reconciled with
make peace to bring hostilities to an end


(intr) mainly obsolete to be or become silent or still

Word Origin for peace

C12: from Old French pais, from Latin pāx
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

Word Origin and History for hold one's peace



mid-12c., "freedom from civil disorder," from Anglo-French pes, Old French pais "peace, reconciliation, silence, permission" (11c., Modern French paix), from Latin pacem (nominative pax) "compact, agreement, treaty of peace, tranquility, absence of war" (source of Provençal patz, Spanish paz, Italian pace), from PIE *pag-/*pak- "fasten," related to pacisci "to covenant or agree" (see pact).

Replaced Old English frið, also sibb, which also meant "happiness." Modern spelling is 1500s, reflecting vowel shift. Sense in peace of mind is from c.1200. Used in various greetings from c.1300, from Biblical Latin pax, Greek eirene, which were used by translators to render Hebrew shalom, properly "safety, welfare, prosperity."

Sense of "quiet" is attested by 1300; meaning "absence or cessation of war or hostility" is attested from c.1300. As a type of hybrid tea rose (developed 1939 in France by Francois Meilland), so called from 1944. Native American peace pipe is first recorded 1760. Peace-officer attested from 1714. Peace offering is from 1530s. Phrase peace with honor first recorded 1607 (in "Coriolanus"). The U.S. Peace Corps was set up March 1, 1962. Peace sign, both the hand gesture and the graphic, attested from 1968.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hold one's peace

hold one's peace

see under hold one's tongue.


In addition to the idiom beginning with peace

  • peace and quiet

also see:

  • at peace
  • hold one's tongue (peace)
  • keep the peace
  • leave someone in peace
  • make one's peace with
  • make peace
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.