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See more synonyms for silt on Thesaurus.com
  1. earthy matter, fine sand, or the like carried by moving or running water and deposited as a sediment.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to become filled or choked up with silt.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to fill or choke up with silt.
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Origin of silt

1400–50; late Middle English cylte gravel, perhaps orig. salty deposit; compare Old English unsylt unsalted, unseasoned, sylting seasoning, syltan to salt, season, Norwegian sylt salty swamp, German Sülze salt marsh, brine
Related formssil·ta·tion, nounsilt·y, adjectivede·silt, verb (used with object)
Can be confusedsand sediment silt
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for silt

residue, sand, deposit, settlings

Examples from the Web for silt

Contemporary Examples of silt

Historical Examples of silt

British Dictionary definitions for silt


  1. a fine deposit of mud, clay, etc, esp one in a river or lake
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  1. (usually foll by up) to fill or become filled with silt; choke
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Derived Formssiltation, nounsilty, adjective

Word Origin for silt

C15: of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian, Danish sylt salt marsh; related to Old High German sulza salt marsh; see salt
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 silt


mid-15c., originally "sediment deposited by seawater," probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Norwegian and Danish sylt "salt marsh"), or from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch silte, sulte "salt marsh, brine," from Proto-Germanic *sultjo- (cf. Old English sealt, Old High German sulza "saltwater," German Sulze "brine"), from PIE *sal- (see salt (n.)).

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"to become choked with silt" (of river channels, harbors, etc.), 1799, from silt (n.). Related: Silted; silting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

silt in Science


  1. A sedimentary material consisting of grains or particles of disintegrated rock, smaller than sand and larger than clay. The diameter of the particles ranges from 0.0039 to 0.0625 mm. Silt is often found at the bottom of bodies of water where it accumulates slowly by settling through the water.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.