See also: SILENT


Alternative formsEdit

  • scilent (hyper‐correct, obsolete)


From Latin silēns (silent), present participle of sileō (be silent), from Proto-Indo-European *seyl- (still, windless, quiet, slow). Cognate with Gothic 𐌰𐌽𐌰𐍃𐌹𐌻𐌰𐌽 (anasilan, to cease, grow still, be silent), Old English sālnes (silence).


  • IPA(key): /ˈsaɪlənt/
  • Rhymes: -aɪlənt
  • (file)


silent (comparative silenter or more silent, superlative silentest or most silent)

  1. Free from sound or noise; absolutely still; perfectly quiet.
    • 1604, William Shakespeare, Othello, act 5, scene 1:
      How silent is this town!
    • 1825, Samuel Johnson, Arthur Murphy, The Works of Samuel Johnson, Talboys and Wheeler, page 52:
      What was formerly performed by fleets and armies, by invasions, sieges, and battles, has been of late accomplished by more silent methods.
    • 1906, William Dean Howells and Sidney Dillon Ripley, Certain Delightful English Towns: With Glimpses of the Pleasant Country Between, Harper & Brothers, page 152:
      The voice of the auctioneer is slow and low [] ; after a pause, which seems no silenter than the rest of the transaction, he ceases to repeat the bids, and his fish, in the measure of a bushel or so, have gone for a matter of three shillings.
  2. Not speaking; indisposed to talk; speechless; mute; taciturn; not loquacious; not talkative.
    • (Can we date this quote by Broome and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Ulysses, adds he, was the most eloquent and most silent of men.
    • (Can we date this quote by John Milton and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      This new-created world, whereof in hell / Fame is not silent.
  3. Keeping at rest; inactive; calm; undisturbed.
    The wind is silent.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Parnell to this entry?)
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir Walter Raleigh to this entry?)
  4. (pronunciation) Not pronounced; having no sound; quiescent.
    The e is silent in fable.
    Silent letters can make some words difficult to spell.
  5. Having no effect; not operating; inefficient.
    • (Can we date this quote by Sir Walter Raleigh and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Cause [] silent, virtueless, and dead.
  6. (technology) With the sound turned off; usually on silent or in silent mode.
    My phone was on silent.
  7. (technology) Without audio capability.
    The Magnavox Odyssey was a silent console.
  8. Hidden, unseen.
    a silent voter; a silent partner
  9. Of an edit or change to a text, not explicitly acknowledged.
    silent revisions; a silent emendation
  10. Not implying significant modifications which would affect a peptide sequence.
  11. Undiagnosed or undetected because of an absence of symptoms.
  12. Of distilled spirit: having no flavour or odour.


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


silent (plural silents)

  1. (uncountable) That which is silent; a time of silence.
  2. A silent movie
    • 2007 August 12, Woody Allen, “The Man Who Asked Hard Questions”, in New York Times[1]:
      All kinds, silents and talkies.


Further readingEdit





  1. third-person plural present indicative of siler
  2. third-person plural present subjunctive of siler





  1. third-person plural present active indicative of sileō