English

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Etymology

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From Middle English silence, from Old French silence, from Latin silentium (silence), from silēns (quiet, silent, present participle of silēre) +‎ -ium. Displaced native Old English swīġe.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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silence (usually uncountable, plural silences)

  1. The absence of any sound.
    When the motor stopped, the silence was almost deafening.
    • 1990, Martin L. Gore (lyrics and music), “Enjoy the Silence”, in Violator, performed by w:Depeche Mode:
      Words like violence break the silence / Come crashing in into my little world
    deadly silence
    in silence
    total silence
  2. The act of refraining from speaking.
    "You have the right to silence," said the police officer.
  3. Refraining from speaking, for purposes of prayer or meditation; especially, a form of worship practiced by the Society of Friends (Quakers) during meetings.
    During silence a message came to me that there was that of God in every person.

Synonyms

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Derived terms

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Translations

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Verb

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silence (third-person singular simple present silences, present participle silencing, simple past and past participle silenced)

  1. (transitive) To make (someone or something) silent.
    Synonym: mute
    Can you silence the crowd, so we can start the show?
  2. (transitive) To repress the expression of something.
    Women, as well as children, have their thoughts or emotions routinely silenced.
  3. (transitive) To suppress criticism, etc.
    Silence the critics.
    Silence the doubters.
    • 2011 December 19, Kerry Brown, “Kim Jong-il obituary”, in The Guardian[1]:
      A state ideology, mixing nationalism, and basic Marxist economics, going under the name "Juche", was constructed, and Kim Il-sung effectively silenced, disposed of and cleared away any opposition, isolating the country and exercising an iron grip on the military, the state media and the government and party organs.
  4. (molecular biology) To block gene expression.
  5. (euphemistic) To murder.
    • 2013, Mark Shaw, The Poison Patriarch: How the Betrayals of Joseph P. Kennedy Caused the Assassination of JFK, →ISBN, page 150:
      They, and others through the years, believed Ruby must have acted on his own since there was no logic to the supposition that anyone could trust an uncontrollable, unreliable loudmouth like Ruby to silence Oswald.

Derived terms

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Translations

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See also

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Interjection

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silence

  1. (imperative) Be silent.
    Silence! Enough of your insolence!
    • 2007 September 17, Spark of Insanity[2], spoken by Achmed the Dead Terrorist (Jeff Dunham):
      (in response to laughter from the audience)
      Silence! I kill you!

Synonyms

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Translations

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Anagrams

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French

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Etymology

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From Latin silentium (silence).

Pronunciation

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Noun

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silence m (plural silences)

  1. silence
    Antonyms: bruit, cacophonie, mélodie, musique

Derived terms

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Further reading

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Etymology

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silenco (silence) +‎ -e (indicates an adverb).

Adverb

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silence

  1. noiselessly, silently, quietly
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Middle English

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Alternative forms

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Etymology

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From Old French silence, from Latin silentium.

Pronunciation

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  • IPA(key): /siːˈlɛns(ə)/, /siˈlɛns(ə)/

Noun

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silence (uncountable)

  1. Silence; the state of refraining or refusing to speak.
  2. Peace, calm; a state of tranquil and restful behaviour.
  3. Quietness; a lack of sound or speaking (for a given area or time).
  4. Refraining from excessive speaking or talking.
  5. The following of a religious vow of silence.
  6. (rare) The termination of a dispute or conflict.
  7. (rare) Secrecy or freedom from disruption.

Descendants

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  • English: silence
  • Scots: seelence

References

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Middle French

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Noun

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silence f (plural silences)

  1. silence (absence of noise)