ADJ. lengthy, long, prolonged | brief, momentary, a moment's, short There was a moment's silence before she replied. | deep, hushed | absolute, complete, dead, deadly, deathly, total, utter We sat in complete silence, save for the ticking of the clock. A deathly silence hung over the town. | shocked, stunned | awkward, embarrassed, embarrassing, strained, uncomfortable An awkward silence followed. | fraught, heavy, ominous, tense | brooding She fell into long, brooding silences. | stony, sullen | eerie | companionable They walked in companionable silence. | expectant, pregnant | sudden
VERB + SILENCE maintain She maintained a stony silence. | break, interrupt, punctuate, shatter Lewis finally broke the long silence between them. a silence punctuated only by the occasional sniff from the children | lapse into, relapse into, retreat into, subside into, trail into (all only used about people) He lapsed into a sullen silence. | stun sb into The boys were stunned into silence by this news. | be met with Her question was met with an uneasy silence. | observe (= as a sign of respect for the dead, etc.) A minute's silence for the victims will be observed.
SILENCE + VERB descend, fall A sudden silence fell over the room. | hang, prevail, reign Silence reigned. | ensue, follow | deepen, grow, lengthen, spread, stretch He thought for a moment, the silence lengthening.
PREP. in (the) ~ They ate their breakfast in silence.
2 not saying anything about sth
ADJ. deafening The government's only response has been a deafening silence. | dignified | deliberate
VERB + SILENCE keep, maintain He has so far kept a dignified silence on the subject.
PREP. ~ from There seems to have been a deliberate silence from the newspapers.
PHRASES a conspiracy/wall of silence There is a conspiracy of silence about what is happening (= nobody is willing to talk about it). | the right to silence (= the right not to say anything when accused of a crime), a vow of silence She has broken her vow of silence on the issue.
ADV. completely | effectively Criticism has now been effectively silenced. | quickly | abruptly, instantly Her scream was abruptly silenced.
VERB + SILENCE try to | manage to | fail to Even these improvements to the service failed to silence a grumbling chorus of complaints.
PREP. with She silenced him with a glare.