1. Marked by absence of noise or sound; still: the silent forest. See Synonyms at quiet.
a. Not inclined to speak; not talkative: He's the strong, silent type.
b. Not speaking or refraining from speech: Do be silent.
c. Not saying anything about a particular matter; making no mention: The poem is silent on the reason for the speaker's sadness.
a. Not voiced or expressed; unspoken: a silent curse; silent consent.
b. Having no spoken dialogue and usually no soundtrack. Used of a film.
4. Linguistics Having no phonetic value; unpronounced: the silent b in subtle.
5. Inactive; quiescent: a silent volcano.
6. Producing no detectable signs or symptoms: a silent heart attack.
A silent movie.
[Latin silēns, silent-, present participle of silēre, to be silent.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.