silence

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Related to silences: quietness

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

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.
See also: break, silence

break silence

To address or publicize an issue that is not garnering attention. 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

pregnant silence

A long pause in speech that indicates a lot of meaning or significance. There was a pregnant silence when the topic changed to Grandpa's will, and everyone could tell that something shocking was about to be revealed. The most telling part of his speech was the pregnant silence before he denied any wrongdoing.
See also: pregnant, silence

pregnant pause

A long pause in speech that indicates a lot of meaning or significance. There was a pregnant pause when the topic changed to Grandpa's will, and everyone could tell that something shocking was about to be revealed. The most telling part of his speech was the pregnant pause before he denied any wrongdoing.
See also: pause, pregnant

heavy silence

A very tense, awkward, or uncomfortable silence among a group of people. There was a heavy silence at the table after Dad's outburst at Mom. I tried to break the heavy silence with a joke, but no one was in the mood for laughing.
See also: heavy, silence

heavy atmosphere

A very tense, awkward, or uncomfortable atmosphere among a group of people. There was a heavy atmosphere at the table after Dad's outburst at Mom. I tried to break the heavy atmosphere with a joke, but no one was in the mood for laughing.
See also: atmosphere, heavy

silence is golden

It is wise or desirable to be silent or to avoid speaking. I would be careful around all those reporters if I were you. Remember, silence is golden. As someone with two small children, I can appreciate the fact that silence is golden.
See also: golden, silence

reduce (one) to silence

To cause one to become silent, especially after being noisy or outspoken. The loud bang reduced the entire classroom to silence. I've had my vocal critics over the years, but I have faith that my next project will reduce them all to silence.
See also: reduce, silence

silence gives consent

If one does not object to or stand up against something that one does not like or agree with, then one is complicit in permitting it to happen. People like to pretend they are outraged by these policies, but when they do nothing to stop them, their silence gives consent. A: "Are you sure Dad is OK with us borrowing the car?" B: "I texted him about it and he didn't say we couldn't. In my book, silence gives consent."
See also: consent, give, 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

conspiracy of silence

An agreement, either tacit or explicit, to disclose nothing about an individual or situation. The term nearly always refers to disclosing something unfavorable, or even criminal. For example, physicians often have been accused of protecting an incompetent member of their profession by keeping quiet. Dating from the late nineteenth century, the term at first was used by individuals complaining of lack of attention. The poet Lewis Morris reportedly complained to Oscar Wilde that a conspiracy of silence prevented his works from being reviewed and asked what he should do, whereupon Wilde replied, “Join it.”
See also: conspiracy, of, silence

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

silence is golden

To keep quiet is a great virtue. This expression is the second half of an old proverb: “Speech is silvern and silence is golden.” It began to be much repeated in the nineteenth century. Thomas Carlyle referred to it as a Swiss proverb in Sartor Resartus (1831). A number of variants came later, among them Ogden Nash’s “Silence is golden, but sometimes invisibility is golder” (I Never Even Suggested It, 1938).
See also: golden, silence
References in classic literature ?
We need no proofs; everything relating to this young man is true." A dull, gloomy silence, like that which precedes some awful phenomenon of nature, pervaded the assembly, who shuddered in dismay.
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.
Then she began to prepare her palette in the deepest silence. Sitting there, she could hear, distinctly, a sound which had strongly excited her curiosity the evening before, and had whirled her young imagination across vast fields of conjecture.
The silence was then broken by their voices which joined in tones of strange unfamiliar sound which formed no words.
They walked on in silence as people walking in their sleep, and were oddly conscious now and again of the mass of their bodies.
Lady Janet maintained her policy of silence. She waved one hand courteously toward Julian, as if to say, "Address your inquiries to the gentleman who introduces you." Julian, noticing the gesture, and observing the rising color in Grace's cheeks, interfered directly in the interests of peace
"Silence!" he said, speaking sternly to Grace for the first time.
"It is possible that there was some reason for the awful silence. My intervention might do more harm than good.
When at last, as by the touching of a spring, he returned again to clearness of consciousness and even a measure of composure, the bells had but just done ringing, and the Sabbath silence was still marred by the patter of belated feet.
All the officers agreed, with the one exception of Wardour, who still kept silence.
His Majesty looked round him severely, and gave a slight growl, which produced instant silence. "Conduct my friends to the banqueting-hall!" he said, laying such an emphasis on "my friends" that several of the dogs rolled over helplessly on their backs and began to lick Bruno's feet.
You should never fret about trifles." After a short silence -- "I hope, my Catherine, you are not getting out of humour with home because it is not so grand as Northanger.
There was a breathless silence. Isabel was standing at the end of the table, her fingers still clasped nervously together, a spot of intense colour in her cheeks.
He chose to keep silence. I do not praise him or blame him for that.
Did I perhaps learn from it the long clear silence? Or did it learn it from me?