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hold one's peace

  1. (idiomatic) To refrain from speaking; to be silent.
    • c. 1595, William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, act 5, sc. 2:
      Thurio: How likes she my discourse?
      Proteus: Ill, when you talk of war.
      Thurio: But well, when I discourse of love and peace?
      Julia: [Aside] But better, indeed, when you hold your peace.
    • I was dumb with silence,
      I held my peace . . .
    • 1728, Jonathan Swift, "A Dialogue between Mad Mullinix and Timothy":
      Ne'er hold my peace, and ne'er stand still:
      I fart with twenty ladies by;
      They call me beast; and what care I?
    • 1860 Feb. 25, G. W. S., "Letter to Editor: Country Clergymen and Matrimony," New York Times (retrieved 3 Oct 2013):
      [U]nless he can give better arguments than he has given to show the truth of his observations, it would be well for him to hold his peace.
    • 1937 April 2, "The Presidency: Economic Dissertation," Time (retrieved 3 Oct 2013):
      Washington was still waiting last week for Franklin Roosevelt to say or do something about Sit-Down. . . . But if he held his peace on one topic, he spoke out boldly on another.
    • 2006 Oct. 25, "Farming supermarket 'victims' urged to speak out," The Scotsman (Scotland) (retrieved 3 Oct 2013):
      Supermarket suppliers with a grievance have been urged to speak up soon or forever hold their peace.