eloquent silence, an

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eloquent silence, an

Speechlessness that speaks louder than speech. “Often there is eloquence in a silent look,” wrote the Roman poet Ovid in his Artis Amatoriae (The Art of Love), a three-volume how-to text for lovers (ca. 1 b.c.). Cicero, Tasso, and La Rochefoucauld were among the many who echoed the sentiment, although not all in the service of love. In English, the playwright William Congreve said (Old Batchelour, 1693, 2:9), “Even silence may be eloquent in love.” It was already a cliché by the time Thomas Carlyle (On Heroes and Hero-Worship, 1840) wrote, “Silence is more eloquent than words.” A newer synonym, dating from the second half of the 1900s and rapidly becoming a cliché, is deafening silence. It is used especially to refer to a refusal to reply or to make a comment. The Times had it on Aug. 28, 1985: “Conservative and Labour MPS [Members of Parliament] have complained of a ‘deafening silence’ over the affair.” See also actions speak louder than words.
See also: eloquent
References in classic literature ?
Tom's head drooped, and he answered with an eloquent silence. His uncle stared at him with a mixed expression of amazement and shame and incredulity that was sorrowful to see.
Their vow made their home a gentle prison, their sentence a life of prayer and song, all surrounded by an eloquent silence.
Since Temer's swearing-in, other countries have opted instead for an eloquent silence.
It was an eloquent silence, a moment in which crucial things were washed out to the deeper, stiller waters of political dissipation.
So far, Summers has maintained an eloquent silence on the activists who seized his future office for three weeks to demand a living wage for Harvard service personnel.
It is often said that words are important in Northern Ireland but for the past 48 hours images and an eloquent silence have said more about the futility of needless death.