[ sahy-luhnt ]
See synonyms for: silentsilentssilently on

  1. making no sound; quiet; still: a silent motor.

  2. refraining from speech.

  1. speechless; mute.

  2. not inclined to speak; taciturn; reticent.

  3. characterized by absence of speech or sound: a silent prayer.

  4. unspoken; tacit: a silent assent.

  5. omitting mention of something, as in a narrative: The records are silent about this crime.

  6. inactive or quiescent, as a volcano.

  7. not sounded or pronounced: The “b” in “doubt” is a silent letter.

  8. Movies. not having spoken dialogue or a soundtrack.

  9. Medicine/Medical. producing no symptoms: silent gallstones.

  1. Usually silents. silent films.

Origin of silent

First recorded in1555–65; from Latin silent-, stem of silēns “being quiet,” present participle of silēre “to be quiet”; akin to Old English sālnes “silence”

synonym study For silent

1. See still1.

Other words for silent

Opposites for silent

Other words from silent

  • si·lent·ly, adverb
  • si·lent·ness, noun
  • o·ver·si·lent, adjective
  • o·ver·si·lent·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·si·lent·ness, noun
  • su·per·si·lent, adjective
  • su·per·si·lent·ly, adverb
  • un·si·lent, adjective
  • un·si·lent·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use silent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for silent


/ (ˈsaɪlənt) /

  1. characterized by an absence or near absence of noise or sound: a silent house

  2. tending to speak very little or not at all

  1. unable to speak

  2. failing to speak, communicate, etc, when expected: the witness chose to remain silent

  3. not spoken or expressed: silent assent

  4. not active or in operation: a silent volcano

  5. (of a letter) used in the conventional orthography of a word but no longer pronounced in that word: the ``k'' in ``know'' is silent

  6. denoting a film that has no accompanying soundtrack, esp one made before 1927, when such soundtracks were developed

  1. a silent film

Origin of silent

C16: from Latin silēns, from silēre to be quiet

Derived forms of silent

  • silently, adverb
  • silentness, noun

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

Scientific definitions for silent


[ lənt ]

  1. 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.

  2. Producing no detectable signs or symptoms, as a medical condition such as heart attack.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.