AskDefine | Define silent

Dictionary Definition

silent adj
1 marked by absence of sound; "a silent house"; "soundless footsteps on the grass"; "the night was still" [syn: soundless, still]
2 failing to speak or communicate etc when expected to; "the witness remained silent" [syn: mum]
3 indicated by necessary connotation though not expressed directly; "gave silent consent"; "a tacit agreement"; "the understood provisos of a custody agreement" [syn: implied, tacit, understood]
4 not made to sound; "the silent `h' at the beginning of `honor'"; "in French certain letters are often unsounded" [syn: unsounded]
5 having a frequency below or above the range of human audibility; "a silent dog whistle"
6 unable to speak because of hereditary deafness [syn: dumb, mute]

User Contributed Dictionary



Latin silens, -entis, p. pr. of silere to be silent; akin to Gothic ana-silan.


  • /ˈsaɪlənt/, /"saIl@nt/


  1. Free from sound or noise; absolutely still; perfectly quiet.
    • Shakespeare:
      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.
    • Ulysses, adds he, was the most eloquent and most silent of men. Broome.
    • This new-created world, whereof in hell Fame is not silent. Milton.
  3. Keeping at rest; inactive; calm; undisturbed; as, the wind is silent. Parnell. Sir W. Raleigh.
  4. (Pronunciation) Not pronounced; having no sound; quiescent; as, "e is silent in fable."
  5. Having no effect; not operating; inefficient.
  6. Without audio capability.
    • The Magnavox Odyssey was a silent console.


free from sound or noise; absolutely still; perfectly quiet
  • Finnish: hiljainen, äänetön
  • Hungarian: csendes, hangtalan, zajtalan
not speaking; indisposed to talk; speechless; mute; taciturn
  • Finnish: hiljainen
  • Hungarian: csendes, hallgatag, szótlan
keeping at rest; inactive; calm; undisturbed
  • Finnish: tyyni
not pronounced; having no sound; quiescent
  • Finnish: hiljainen
  • Hungarian: néma
having no effect; not operating; inefficient
  • Finnish: äänetön
without audio capability
  • Finnish: hiljainen


  1. That which is silent; a time of silence.


that which is silent
  • Finnish: hiljaisuus

Extensive Definition

The word Silent may mean any of the following:

Cinematic usage

  • A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound, or spoken dialogue. This applies to the majority of films made before 1930.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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