conspiracy of silence

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From conspiracy +‎ of +‎ silence.


  • IPA(key): /kənˌspɪɹəsi əv ˈsaɪləns/



conspiracy of silence (plural conspiracies of silence)

  1. An agreement, either formal or tacit, between two or more parties not to discuss some matter nor to reveal any information concerning it, especially in order to avoid blame, embarrassment, or other discomfort.
    • 1889, H. Rider Haggard, chapter 24, in Beatrice:
      But neither spoke to the other on the subject. They had entered into a conspiracy of silence.
    • 1902, E. W. Hornung, chapter 31, in At Large:
      Biggs—in the presence of Colonel Bristo—made a last effort to induce Sergeant Compton to join the conspiracy of silence regarding the identity of Miles, the Australian adventurer.
    • 1919, Jerome K. Jerome, chapter 2, in All Roads Lead to Calvary:
      That its educated followers no longer believed in a physical Hell, that its more advanced clergy had entered into a conspiracy of silence on the subject was no answer.
    • 2001 May 15, Jane E. Brody, “A Conversation with Dan Shapiro: A Doctor's Story of Hope, Humor and Deadly Cancer”, in New York Times, retrieved 8 August 2012:
      “There's a conspiracy of silence in medicine around death and dying.”