[ sahy-luhns ]
See synonyms for: silencesilencedsilencing on

  1. absence of any sound or noise; stillness.

  2. the state or fact of being silent; muteness.

  1. absence or omission of mention, comment, or expressed concern: the conspicuous silence of our newspapers on local graft.

  2. the state of being forgotten; oblivion: in the news again after years of silence.

  3. concealment; secrecy.

verb (used with object),si·lenced, si·lenc·ing.
  1. to put or bring to silence; still.

  2. to put (doubts, fears, etc.) to rest; quiet.

  1. Military. to still (enemy guns), as by more effective fire.

  1. be silent! “Silence!” the teacher shouted.

Origin of silence

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English (noun), from Old French, from Latin silentium, derivative of silēre “to be quiet”; cf. silent

Other words for silence

Other words from silence

  • o·ver·si·lence, noun
  • un·si·lenced, adjective

Words Nearby silence Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use silence in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for silence


/ (ˈsaɪləns) /

  1. the state or quality of being silent

  2. the absence of sound or noise; stillness

  1. refusal or failure to speak, communicate, etc, when expected: his silence on the subject of their promotion was alarming

  2. a period of time without noise

  3. oblivion or obscurity

  1. to bring to silence

  2. to put a stop to; extinguish: to silence all complaint

Origin of silence

C13: via Old French from Latin silēntium, from silēre to be quiet. See silent

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