Meaning of SILENT in English


si ‧ lent W3 /ˈsaɪlənt/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ silence , ↑ silencer ; verb : ↑ silence ; adverb : ↑ silently ; adjective : ↑ silent ]

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: present participle of silere 'to be silent' ]


a) not saying anything:

Alan was silent.

remain/stay/keep silent

She kept silent, forcing Buchanan to continue.

The crowd fell silent (=became silent) when the President appeared.

b) [only before noun] not talking much to other people

the strong silent type (=a man who looks strong and does not talk very much)


Silent is used mainly in writing. In everyday English, people usually use not say anything rather than be silent :

She didn’t say anything, so I carried on.

The article doesn’t say anything about religion.

2 . NOT COMMUNICATING failing or refusing to talk about something or express an opinion

silent on/about

The report was silent on the subject.

3 . QUIET without any sound, or not making any sound:

The large house was silent and lonely.

At last the guns fell silent.

Julie offered up a silent prayer that she would pass her exam.

as silent as the grave (=completely silent in a mysterious or uncomfortable way)

4 . FILMS [only before noun] a silent film has pictures but no sound

5 . LETTER a silent letter in a word is not pronounced:

The ‘w’ in ‘wreck’ is silent.

—silently adverb :

He sat silently by the bed.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.