From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishsilentsi‧lent /ˈsaɪlənt/ ●●● W3 adjective 1 not speaking a) SAY#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) TALK2#[only before noun] not talking much to other peoplethe strong silent type (=a man who looks strong and does not talk very much)RegisterSilent 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 communicatingTALK2#SAY# failing or refusing to talk about something or express an opinionsilent on/about The report was silent on the subject.3 quietQUIET 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)► see thesaurus at quiet4 filmsAMF [only before noun] a silent film has pictures but no sound5 letterSL a silent letter in a word is not pronounced The ‘w’ in ‘wreck’ is silent. —silently adverb He sat silently by the bed.
Examples from the Corpussilent• Alice was laughing and joking, but her sister remained silent.• The hours before the attack were strangely silent.• He looked back at the father, who was furious but silent.• Several people volunteered for being special constables but Tom remained silent.• Then she recalled his reactions to what he'd labelled her prejudices in St Lucia, and stayed silent.• The "b" at the end of "thumb" is silent.• Police responded to a silent alarm at the bank's Hope Street branch.• Mr Flood was silent and blessed himself a great deal when he heard the news.• I wanted to say 'please don't go', but instead I remained silent, and she left.• Apart from the humming of the bees, all was silent and still.• At dinner he was utterly silent and tried to leave as soon as he had eaten sufficient but before the table was cleared.• The children remained silent and watchful as the police questioned their parents.• The crowd fell silent as he stood up to speak.• The engine is almost silent, even at high speed, and goes like a dream.• The reporter sighed, was silent for a bit, and then told me the following story.• Phil was silent for a moment as he thought about his reply.• The streets of the city were silent in the moonlight.• All that remains of Champa today are its magnificent stone sculptures, silent testimony to an extinct society.• The woman fell silent, though she kept darting angry glances at Jessica.• Mrs. Welland was a mild silent woman with no strong opinions.fell silent• Around the time of the First World War, Clark brothers ceased operations, and the mill finally fell silent.• They fell silent again, and, as they drove along, Sophie's thoughts grew more and more bewildered.• Everyone fell silent and turned to look: nothing but damp, agitated people and the greasy cinderblock walls.• The audience fell silent as Jackson began to speak.• They fell silent for a while.• The desultory voices at the tables fell silent, heads were raised and, together, the company moved towards the windows.• But Oliver, in such circumstances, fell silent, overmatched.• Every person in the room fell silent, unnerved, as though a shadow had fallen across them.silent on/about• Still, Jim found it impossible to remain entirely silent about his own convictions.• And it was as if nothing had happened: The government officials were absolutely silent about it.• Once having framed the thought in my mind that I was a lesbian I found myself unable to keep silent about it.• The company is suspiciously silent about its plans for cutting costs.• Her bare feet were silent on the drive.• These days he is silent on the issue, especially in Winston-Salem, a tobacco town.• That statement was silent on the question of whether Gingrich deliberately misled the committee or skirted tax law.• The model is deafeningly silent on this question since the only relative price which figures in it is the rate of interest.• If the original statement requires correction it is presumably necessary to seek leave to amend although the rules are silent on this.as silent as the grave• The huge room was as silent as the grave.Origin silent (1400-1500) Latin present participle of silere “to be silent”