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See also: SILENT


Alternative forms[edit]

  • 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.
  3. Keeping at rest; inactive; calm; undisturbed.
    The wind is silent.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Parnell 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.
    • 1614, Walter Raleigh, Historie of the World
      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 terms[edit]


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 reading[edit]





  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