silence


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

blue wall of silence

An unspoken policy of concealment by police regarding the wrongdoing or illicit activity of other officers. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. I respect the need for the police, but it's hard to trust them completely when so many stories of the blue wall of silence come to light.
See also: blue, of, silence, wall

blue code of silence

An unspoken policy of concealment by police regarding the wrongdoing or illicit activity of other officers. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. I respect the need for the police, but it's hard to trust them completely when so many stories of the blue code of silence come to light.
See also: blue, code, of, silence

code of silence

The practice of not disclosing important or vital information by members of a group, as due to the threat of violence, reprisal, being branded as a traitor, or an inherent sense of honor. There are parts of the city where the code of silence is so strong that police don't even bother questioning the residents there.
See also: code, of, silence

conspiracy of silence

An agreement, either explicit or unspoken, among members of a group to keep secret certain information that, if exposed, could be damaging to the group, its interests, or its associates. Knowing that public knowledge of their imminent takeover by the rival company could jeopardize their continued employment thereafter, the board of directors agreed to a strict conspiracy of silence until the deal was finalized. The doctors in the hospital were engaged in a tacit conspiracy of silence, as each knew that bringing to light their colleague's misbehavior could end up damaging their own reputations in the process.
See also: conspiracy, of, silence

deafening silence

A conspicuous and striking lack of noise or sound. Jim's proposal was met with deafening silence at the meeting. After living in the city all my life, I can't stand the deafening silence of the countryside.
See also: silence

silence means consent

If you do not voice your objection to something, then it is assumed that you support it. A: "Why did you think I would agree to punishing a student so harshly?" B: "Well, you didn't say anything when we originally discussed this plan! Silence means consent." Make sure to speak up when you disagree with something, because, for many people, silence means consent.
See also: consent, mean, silence

speech is silver, but silence is golden

An expression that values silence over speech. I would be careful around all those reporters if I were you. Remember: speech is silver, but silence is golden.
See also: but, golden, silence, speech

speech is silver, silence is gold

An expression that values silence over speech. I would be careful around all those reporters if I were you. Remember: speech is silver, silence is gold.
See also: gold, silence, speech

speech is silver, silence is golden

An expression that values silence over speech. I would be careful around all those reporters if I were you. Remember: speech is silver, silence is golden.
See also: golden, silence, speech

wall of silence

1. An unspoken policy of concealment by police regarding the wrongdoing or illicit activity of other officers. A variation on the phrase "blue wall of silence." I respect police, but it's hard to trust them completely when so many stories of the wall of silence come to light.
2. Constant silence, often due to unhappiness or secrecy. Ever since my husband found out that I lied to him, there's been a wall of silence between us. Mom can never know that I broke her vase, OK? There's a wall of silence, starting now.
See also: of, silence, wall

break (one's) silence

1. To voice one's opinion or comment on something after initially avoiding doing so. It took days, but the mayor has finally broken his silence on the scandal at city hall.
2. To address or publicize an issue that is not garnering attention. A noun is not used between "break" and "silence" in this usage. Our station broke silence on the mayor's scandal, and now even national news outlets are covering it!
See also: break, silence

break the silence

1. To make noise when it is otherwise silent. OK, I'll break the silence—what are we going to do to fix this problem? I was enjoying a jog when that car horn broke the silence and startled me.
2. To voice an opinion or comment on something after initially avoiding doing so. It took days, but the mayor has finally broken the silence on the scandal at city hall.
See also: break, silence

break silence

to give information about a topic that no one was mentioning or discussing. The press finally broke silence on the question of the plagiarized editorial.
See also: break, silence

break the silence

to make a noise interrupting a period of silence. The wind broke the silence by blowing the door closed.
See also: break, silence

reduce someone to silence

to cause someone to be silent. The rebuke reduced him to silenceat last. Mary was reduced to silence by Jane's comments.
See also: reduce, silence

Silence gives consent.

Prov. If you do not object to what someone says or does, you can be assumed to agree with or condone it. Jill: What did Fred say when you told him we were thinking about leaving the office early? Jane: He didn't say anything. Jill: Then he must not mind if we go. Silence gives consent.
See also: consent, give, silence

Silence is golden.

Prov. Silence is often good or desirable. Jerry has two teenage children who listen to music using their headphones all day. He knows that silence is golden. Hush! Silence is golden.
See also: golden, silence

conspiracy of silence

A tacit or explicit agreement to keep something secret. For example, In this state's medical society there is a conspiracy of silence regarding incompetent practitioners . This term was first used as a complaint about lack of attention, but today it more often refers to remaining silent about something unfavorable or criminal. [Late 1800s]
See also: conspiracy, of, silence

silence is golden

Keeping one's mouth shut is a great virtue, as in Don't tell anyone else about it-silence is golden. Although this precise phrase was first recorded only in 1848, it is part of a much older proverb, "Speech is silver and silence is golden."
See also: golden, silence

a conspiracy of silence

If there is a conspiracy of silence, people who know about something have agreed that they will not tell anyone about it. Detectives have run into a conspiracy of silence in the close communities here.
See also: conspiracy, of, silence

a conspiracy of silence

an agreement to say nothing about an issue that should be generally known.
This expression appears to have originated with the French philosopher Auguste Comte ( 1798–1857 ).
See also: conspiracy, of, silence

silence is golden

it's often wise to say nothing. proverb
The fuller form of the saying is speech is silver, but silence is golden .
See also: golden, silence

a conˌspiracy of ˈsilence

an agreement not to talk publicly about something which should not remain secret: As no one was ever convicted of the murders, it is widely believed that there may have been a conspiracy of silence maintained by the victims’ friends and families.
See also: conspiracy, of, silence

a heavy ˈsilence/ˈatmosphere

a situation when people do not say anything, but feel embarrassed or uncomfortable: There was a heavy silence for a few minutes before anybody spoke.

a pregnant ˈpause/ˈsilence

a pause/silence in which everyone is waiting or listening for something, or a moment of silence which is full of meaning: There was a pregnant pause while everyone waited to hear what she had to say.
See also: pause, pregnant, silence

ˌsilence is ˈgolden

(saying) it is sometimes best not to say anything in a difficult or dangerous situation
The complete saying is ‘speech is silver, silence is golden’.
See also: golden, silence

deafening silence

A silence or lack of response that reveals something significant, such as disapproval or a lack of enthusiasm.
See also: silence
References in classic literature ?
She was like a queen in the midst of her court; she paid no attention to the profound silence that reigned among the patricians, and passed before their camp without pronouncing a single word.
There was a dead silence, and Sir Walter's usually steady brain seemed to go round like a windmill.
The silence was then broken by their voices which joined in tones of strange unfamiliar sound which formed no words.
For an instant the dancers paused, and in the silence of the interval there rose from the lips of the fast-bound white man an answering shriek, more fearsome and more terrible than that of the jungle-beast that had roused it.
A second cry arose, piercing the silence with needle-like shrillness.
He looked at Lady Montbarry with a moment's steady attention-- bowed to her with formal politeness--and passed on in silence.
I still lay immovable, with closed eyes; drowsily waiting for the next sound that might reach my ears; drowsily content with the silence, if the silence continued.
He to whom the portentous conspiracy of night and solitude and silence in the heart of a great forest is not an unknown experience needs not to be told what another world it all is--how even the most commonplace and familiar objects take on another character.
The dim wide fields lie in silence, wrapped in the holy mystery of darkness.
Armed beforehand in her policy of silence, Lady Janet folded her handsome hands as usual, and waited for the proceedings to begin, like a judge on the bench.
However, about seven o'clock, the heavy silence was dissipated.
In the meanwhile, silence toward their stepmother--silence toward every one till their father came back!
if I only knew what was passing in the silence that is behind that door
A good roguish thing is also the long silence, and to look, like the winter-sky, out of a clear, round-eyed countenance:--
He, deliberately, swore in his thoughts; he meditated sneers; he shaped in profound silence words of cynical unbelief, and his most cherished convictions stood revealed finally as the narrow prejudices of fools.