Definition of quiet in English:



  • 1Making little or no noise.

    ‘the car has a quiet, economical engine’
    ‘I was as quiet as I could be, but he knew I was there’
    • ‘There is something very peaceful and satisfying about the sound of their quiet munching and the noise of their feet on frosty grass.’
    • ‘As well as giving an impressive blend of performance and economy, the new engine is also quiet.’
    • ‘No more out in the garden for a bit of peace and quiet, just noise and pollution.’
    • ‘Already, she could hear the quiet, muffled noise of violins and people talking.’
    • ‘The only noise in the car was the whisperings of the two in the back seat and the quiet rumble of the engine.’
    • ‘Microphones can suffer from distortion with very loud signals or from noise with very quiet signals.’
    • ‘He kept his disappointments to himself, a quiet murmur of disapproval usually being as far as it went.’
    • ‘He pulled the trembling girl into his arms, smoothing her hair and making quiet shushing noises.’
    • ‘The house was relatively quiet except for the noise coming from the kitchen.’
    • ‘Even at these speeds, engine noise was quiet, with only small amounts of road and wind noise.’
    • ‘A soft noise came from inside, a quiet shuffling and a low muttering.’
    • ‘He woke up with a start and realized that he had heard a quiet noise outside his door.’
    • ‘You can reduce this noise by selecting quiet equipment or by mounting the unit on a noise-absorbing base.’
    • ‘She awoke to the sound of shuffling feet and many muffled voices whispering in tones too quiet to be heard clearly.’
    • ‘The air was hot, the night still, and, but for the gentle noises of the river, all was quiet.’
    • ‘Earphones are put over your ears and quiet clicking noises are played to each ear.’
    • ‘Rich foliage, soft lighting and the quiet hum of the other diners' conversations create a welcoming ambience.’
    • ‘The first thing that strikes you is the contrast between the quiet and loud noises.’
    • ‘There was a quiet humming from the engines, and it quickly put me to sleep.’
    • ‘Even at this speed the engine was still quiet and there was no road noise; only some intrusive wind noise detracted from the overall silence.’
    silent, still, hushed, noiseless, soundless
    soft, low, lowered, muted, muffled, faint, indistinct, inaudible, dull
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    1. 1.1 (of a place, period of time, or situation) without much activity, disturbance, or excitement.
      ‘the street below was quiet, little traffic braving the snow’
      • ‘That has changed as the island has tried to transform its carnival into an event which will bring visitors to the island during a usually quiet period.’
      • ‘This is the second year in a row that the quiet period between Christmas Day and New Year's Day has been shattered by a disaster.’
      • ‘Situated on a quiet road off Botanic Avenue, this period property is close to numerous shops, schools and amenities.’
      • ‘Even yesterday, when the roads were relatively quiet, stationary traffic stretched the length of Kingshill.’
      • ‘The company has been through a quiet period over the past few years with few new models, but that is all changing with no fewer than a dozen new models due to arrive in the next five years.’
      • ‘Roman Lancashire was a quiet place, but not the back water that some historians have made of it.’
      • ‘Normally, it is a very quiet place to live with little activity, but at race time it gets very busy.’
      • ‘It's a quiet place and I like to be in a quiet place after a day's work.’
      • ‘It's a snug, quiet place with terraced lawns leading down to the Island's best sandy beaches.’
      • ‘Yet, not all places were quiet and devoid of activity on Tuesday.’
      • ‘House prices in east-central Scotland rallied at the end of last year despite a traditionally quiet period for sales, new figures reveal.’
      • ‘She also blames the row on the media desperately looking for an argument in the quiet holiday period.’
      • ‘Until yesterday, this was a quiet place, even while the people on either side were clearly distressed by a new and awkward tension.’
      • ‘When you study on your own find a quiet place, like in your room.’
      • ‘One resident, who did not want to be named, said she had lived in the street for 11 years and it was a lovely, quiet place to live.’
      • ‘When you really want to talk to someone you want to sit together in a quiet place and talk, not to be in the midst of a crowd of other people.’
      • ‘It gives apprentices exposure to different employers and employers some flexibility during quiet periods of inactivity.’
      • ‘According to the sources, the cuts were made to increase demand during one of the market's more quiet periods.’
      • ‘By the time the outcome is known, we will have entered the traditionally quiet summer period that usually lasts from May to September.’
      • ‘The place is quiet, and I'm kinda excited to have my space back, but not excited enough to be glad they're gone.’
      peaceful, sleepy, tranquil, calm, still, relaxing, soothing, pleasant, restful, undisturbed, free from disturbance, free from interruption, free from interference, untroubled
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    2. 1.2 Without being disturbed or interrupted.
      ‘all he wanted was a quiet drink’
      • ‘It has emerged that the hotel was one of the establishments the prince favoured when he wanted to enjoy a quiet drink away from his security guards and the prying eyes of tourists.’
      • ‘If you'd prefer a quiet drink and a paperback, you might want to consider a more sedate ship.’
      • ‘Even though this change is now a fact we must not forget the customer who still wishes to have a quiet drink on his own or with his mates.’
      • ‘We spent a quiet time eating and drinking and chatting until, around 4pm, we drove Mum home.’
      • ‘It was past midnight and the place was pretty much deserted except for a couple of guys having quiet drinks at the all night bar.’
      • ‘We'd just gone out for a few quiet drinks and the pub was half-empty.’
      • ‘Many travellers are denied the opportunity to enjoy a quiet drink, she added.’
      • ‘Already, a quiet drink in the pub is forever interrupted by people rattling charity boxes.’
      • ‘It meant all thoughts of a quiet drink were shattered.’
      • ‘If you want a quiet drink, avoid times when the footie is on the telly.’
      peaceful, sleepy, tranquil, calm, still, relaxing, soothing, pleasant, restful, undisturbed, free from disturbance, free from interruption, free from interference, untroubled
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  • 2Carried out discreetly, secretly, or with moderation.

    ‘we wanted a quiet wedding’
    ‘I'll have a quiet word with him’
    • ‘There might be a quiet wedding with a few guests, followed by a party somewhere which might take place the same day or several months later.’
    • ‘I'm going to suggest somebody has a quiet word in her ear.’
    • ‘There are several white marble benches to sit on to enjoy the quiet beauty of this secret garden.’
    • ‘I went to my secret spot, a quiet beach in Madh Island and cried my heart out.’
    • ‘I was compelled to go and have a quiet word with the lighting man, who very kindly obliged me and reduced the glare factor.’
    • ‘They are experts in the quiet word in the ear which has been controlling players for decades and they must not have that power curtailed.’
    • ‘The launch of the play club was a family affair with carols galore and of course Santa cutting the ribbon and having a quiet word with the younger guests.’
    • ‘Hardly a week goes by without the police bleating that they would like ‘a quiet word’ with a celebrity over some alleged incident.’
    • ‘In other words, only quiet demonstrations of picnic proportions would be allowable.’
    • ‘They may not be grabbing headlines or standing out but they are having quiet words in ears and giving assurance.’
    • ‘Hillary had obviously had a quiet word with her husband in the kitchen, because when he came back, he was far more subdued.’
    • ‘A year ago, when this column began, a respected magazine editor offered a quiet word of warning.’
    • ‘Changing the subject in an almost arbitrary fashion - I'd just like to have a quiet word with the Conservative Party.’
    • ‘His third wedding was quiet and private, with only his closest friends invited.’
    • ‘If it does, maybe you should have a quiet word with the waiter.’
    • ‘The Police Prosecutor correctly had a quiet word with the JP to correct matters.’
    • ‘If it's your parent or parents, chances are you'll know how to do this best - whether it's using humour or taking them aside for a quiet word.’
    • ‘But he will be having a quiet word with ‘one or two riders’ before the match.’
    private, confidential, secret, discreet, unofficial, off the record, between ourselves, between you and me, between you and me and the bedpost, between you and me and the doorpost, between you and me and the gatepost, between you and me and the wall
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    1. 2.1 (of a person) mild and reserved by nature.
      ‘his quiet, middle-aged parents’
      • ‘They describe him as a quiet man who lived here with his parents and also with his younger brother.’
      • ‘His students and friends will always warmly remember him as a man of gentle, unassuming and quiet personality.’
      • ‘An unassuming and quiet woman from Norway runs a coastal rehabilitation unit that rescues beaches from oil slicks.’
      • ‘They are quiet, modest individuals that let you get on with your own thing.’
      • ‘He was quite a reserved, quiet chap, more of a listener than a talker, perhaps.’
      • ‘You are more quiet and reserved in front of strangers, but around some people you open up.’
      • ‘He was a quiet man with a gentle disposition who was a popular and well respected member of the local community.’
      • ‘Chris, a fairly reserved and quiet fellow, is going to have to learn what it means to be talked to all the time.’
      • ‘Kelly told me that, while she was growing up, her father was quiet, distant, and emotionally reserved.’
      • ‘Johnny was a very quiet man who was soft-spoken and gentle.’
      • ‘He is a quiet man by nature, the last player one would expect to run off his mouth in the locker room.’
      • ‘Some bull terriers are much more reticent than others and would be more suitable for a quiet person and a calm household.’
      • ‘He was quiet and calm and reflective and always helpful.’
      • ‘He was a modest and quiet person with a profound knowledge in most fields of scientific ornithology.’
      • ‘He was a quiet person who preferred staying in but when we went out we always enjoyed ourselves.’
      • ‘He was quiet, unassuming - I liked him immensely, and I regret that I met him only once.’
      • ‘He was quiet and unassuming gentleman who was very highly thought of by all who knew him.’
      • ‘She is calm, she is cool, she is quiet, she is unassuming.’
      • ‘A very quiet individual, his gentlemanly manner endeared him to all who made his acquaintance.’
      • ‘His sister said he was quiet by nature with an acerbic wit.’
      calm, equable, serene, composed, cool, calm, and collected, placid, untroubled, peaceful, peaceable, tranquil, gentle, mild, phlegmatic, imperturbable, unexcitable
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    2. 2.2 Expressed in a restrained or understated way.
      ‘Molly spoke with quiet confidence’
      • ‘But the Scot's quiet confidence and forbearance spread to the rest of the community.’
      • ‘The mood of this film, the quiet confidence of its telling, the gorgeous cinematography has to be seen to be understood.’
      • ‘The urban Indian woman's newfound poise and quiet confidence were on show.’
      • ‘His quiet confidence in his mates shines through.’
      • ‘A pleasant, modest demeanour seems to shelter a quiet strength and confidence.’
      • ‘This is not a restrained man of quiet honour, but a proud warrior of the sea - hair flowing in the breeze.’
      • ‘She always had composure, but now she carried a quiet but firm dignity.’
      • ‘What attracted my attention was the air of quiet confidence and serenity that emanated from her.’
      • ‘Sweet music to the ears of his manager, who was his usual mixture of confidence and quiet sophistication on Friday as he discussed how to improve on winning the double.’
      • ‘Simple chords, restrained riffs and quiet imagery lead to just a perfect pathos running through each and every song.’
      • ‘It is a performance of restrained frustration and quiet despair, coupled with the type of calculated ruthlessness befitting a killer.’
      • ‘In his native heath he exudes a quiet confidence and dignity, not, however, always outside it.’
      • ‘There is a quiet confidence about this exhibition; a modesty which belies the fact that it represents nothing less than a revolution.’
      • ‘His eyes, too, seemed to hide a certain understanding, the kind of cool display of quiet confidence and mystery.’
      • ‘Exuding a quiet confidence, he is obviously somebody who is sure of his own abilities, yet unpresumptuous about what the future might hold.’
      • ‘He got the job done in his own quiet, unassuming, understated way.’
      • ‘Styling is not too flashy, yet exudes class and a quiet confidence.’
      • ‘Indeed, in their own quiet, understated way, that's what they've always done.’
      • ‘Wendy has been giving readings since 1980, so she has earned a quiet confidence in what might work.’
      • ‘Still, his success at the polls permitted his quiet confidence he was safe in the knowledge that the importance of being earnest had paid off.’
    3. 2.3 (of a colour or garment) unobtrusive; not bright or showy.
      unobtrusive, unostentatious, unpretentious, restrained, reserved
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mass noun
  • 1Absence of noise or bustle; silence; calm.

    ‘the ringing of the telephone shattered the early morning quiet’
    • ‘The pace is dictated by the early morning quiet of a misty golf course laid out along Georgia's ocean coast.’
    • ‘Now elderly people at the centre are able to enjoy the herbs, flowers, flowing water and wind chimes when they need some peace and quiet.’
    • ‘The quiet in the apartment was calming, refreshing.’
    • ‘I live downtown because I don't want that kind of peace and quiet.’
    • ‘The cotton fields lay quiet in the hot morning sun; not even a gust of wind disturbed them.’
    • ‘The quiet of the morning and the dark really got to Cassie as she hugged her jacket tighter to her small form.’
    • ‘It was the strangest sense, there was just quiet, no hysteria, no noise, no crying out.’
    • ‘So there I am, out in the quiet of the morning, ripping up weeds, listening to birds singing their hearts out, drinking in the smell of freshly turned earth.’
    • ‘It was a cold spring morning and the city was deadly quiet.’
    • ‘The air was still and calm, the forest quiet but for the sounds of small animals, making their way from tree to tree.’
    • ‘We were rewarded with the sound of calling Whooping Cranes piercing the quiet of the early morning, then a close fly over.’
    • ‘That begs the question, what kind of an idiot moves into a building next to a nightclub expecting peace and quiet?’
    • ‘The stillness and quiet of the night made the place seem almost reverent, as if something long ago had happened here.’
    • ‘Each morning of their journey dawned grey, deadly quiet, and expectant.’
    • ‘The calm quiet of where I was beckoned me to linger a little longer.’
    • ‘I'm breakfasting on vanilla tea and toasted challah as I write this, enjoying the temporary quiet of a Sunday morning in NYC.’
    • ‘However, in order to do that, you have got to have relative calm or quiet.’
    tranquillity, stillness, calmness, quietness, quietude, peace, peacefulness, serenity, silence, hush
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    1. 1.1 Freedom from disturbance or interruption by others.
      ‘he understood her wish for peace and quiet’
      • ‘I was suffering from cabin fever and longing for some peace and quiet.’
      • ‘Once the gardens are finished, they will be open to the public free of charge on condition that visitors respect the peace and quiet of the hall as a place of retreat.’
      • ‘I was glad when the three hours were over any my package was ready for collection, so I could come back home and work in peace and quiet.’
      • ‘On the other side, from his family's perspective, he just simply wanted some peace and quiet.’
      • ‘Husband Brian offered no sympathy but couldn't wait for the peace and quiet.’
      • ‘I like to read and mind my own business in peace and quiet.’
      • ‘They should be allowed to live in peace and quiet.’
      • ‘They just want some peace and quiet to reflect, or to lose themselves in a good novel, poem or piece of fine music - in a word to think.’
      • ‘I was desperate for an evening of peace and quiet, and a bit of easy entertainment, but I was being denied it.’
      • ‘Personally, I love riding on trains that are nearly empty, just as my favourite pubs are the ones that no one else likes and where I can get a bit of peace and quiet.’
      • ‘Enjoying the peace and quiet of a nice chair is one of life's few pleasures.’
      • ‘Their need for peace and quiet must be respected.’
      • ‘I have a right to live in peace and quiet like any human being.’
      • ‘Once we get to dinner time the peace and quiet is shattered by three ravening teenagers all demanding food and demanding it now.’
      • ‘I'm looking forward to having my own room back because I'm fed up of having nowhere to go to be alone in peace and quiet.’
      • ‘The thing is, I don't think I'm particularly sensitive, though I'll be the first to admit I like peace and quiet.’
      • ‘The greatest luxury of having an office in the house is the peace and quiet, and no valuable time wasted commuting.’
      • ‘In the guest room Tess has been given, her peace and quiet has been disturbed by a group of women all talking at once.’
      peacefulness, peace and quiet, peace, restfulness, calm, calmness, tranquillity, serenity
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    2. 1.2 A peaceful or settled state of affairs in social or political life.
      ‘after several months of comparative quiet, the scandal re-erupted in August’
      • ‘The brutal crushing of the protests ushered in a period of uneasy quiet in the country's politics.’
      • ‘Has the organisation begun another deadly bombing campaign after some months of relative quiet?’
      • ‘I think that maybe we're going to have a few months of relative quiet in which people can try to sort things out in the region.’
      • ‘There was an audacious attack in broad daylight on the fortified U.S. consulate after months of relative quiet.’


North American
  • Make or become silent, calm, or still.

    with object ‘there are ways of quieting kids down’
    no object ‘the journalists quieted down as Judy stepped on to the dais’
    • ‘She flashes me a brief look of annoyance, quieting me, then changing her demeanor to once again calm and composed, she continues with her explanation.’
    • ‘As the play begins, everyone quiets down and behaves.’
    • ‘His mind quiets, his muscles begin to un-knit, and his posture resumes something closer to normal rather than poised and defensive.’
    • ‘Nick stands up, which quiets both of the younger men at once.’
    • ‘It quiets the mind, so you can let thoughts enter your consciousness and then be released without the compulsive need to worry or take action.’
    • ‘The commotion gradually quiets down and the judge looks at the jury.’
    • ‘Elinor quiets herself, and determines to act cheerful and normal.’
    • ‘Folk tunes rest easy in a sharp, modern arrangement that rouses and quiets with equal success.’
    • ‘After a few whistles and catcalls, the hubbub quiets to a tolerable level.’
    • ‘I mean, the dog is as big as her on his forelegs and she quiets him with a touch.’
    • ‘As I come out with a stack of napkins and some plates, their conversation quiets and dies down, and we all eat.’
    • ‘The audience quiets down as John slowly turns and stares at one general spot in the crowd.’
    • ‘His silences often precede a weighty thought though I doubt the rattling in his head ever quiets.’
    • ‘Soon everybody quieted down, and remained silent as we tried to figure out where to go to next.’
    • ‘It is only when the film quiets down that some minor hiss is audible but it is hardly bothersome.’
    silence, make quieter, hush, shush, still
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  • keep quiet (or keep someone quiet)

    • Refrain or prevent someone from speaking or from disclosing something secret.

      • ‘We tended to think the UN was keeping Europe quiet.’
      • ‘The board tries to keep her quiet, but that's not easy.’
      • ‘Fear of the sniggering schoolboy joke will keep us quiet.’
      • ‘No consideration, whether of party or convenience, should keep us quiet when we see or suspect a wrong done.’
      • ‘After a dazzling full debut for England, a media boycott kept him quiet.’
      • ‘The secret that kept him quiet about his brother was frightening.’
      • ‘He just jabs us in the chest with an accusatory finger and hopes that guilt at our ignorance will keep us quiet.’
      be quiet, keep quiet, stay quiet, be silent, keep silent, stay silent, hold one's tongue, keep one's lips sealed
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  • keep something quiet (or keep quiet about something)

    • Refrain from disclosing information about something; keep something secret.

      • ‘What about companies who prefer to keep things quiet as a trade secret?’
      • ‘Apparently, the Secret Service was keeping quiet about the events of the previous day.’
      • ‘Many IT users believe that so long as they keep their password quiet, for example, then their information is safe.’
      • ‘Strauss always kept quiet about the grim secrets in his own family, namely that his father was a domineering bully, while his mother, a severe depressive, was frequently confined in a mental hospital.’
      • ‘He dismissed claims that the discovery was kept quiet until last Thursday's General Election was over.’
      • ‘Shouldn't we all just keep quiet about our shared secret?’
      • ‘Caillan assures him that he will keep this information quiet.’
      • ‘A friend told the newspaper, ‘They're very happy, but the whole thing has been kept quiet because Brian's divorce hasn't gone through yet.’
      • ‘Would it be better to keep quiet about it and keep the revenue rolling in or get the information out there and reduce the size of the law suits later?’
      • ‘Oh, he could keep quiet about a secret like no one else!’
      secret, top secret, confidential, strictly confidential, classified, unrevealed, undisclosed, unpublished, untold, unknown, uncommunicated, under wraps, unofficial, off the record, not for circulation, not for publication, not to be made public, not to be disclosed, clandestine, surreptitious
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  • on the quiet

    • informal Without anyone knowing or noticing; secretly or unobtrusively.

      ‘the deal was done on the quiet six months ago’
      • ‘I always kept it going, but did it on the quiet, as a separate part of the business.’
      • ‘Think of it this way: your money should work as hard as you do - and you'd put up a mighty fuss if your employer started cutting your wage on the quiet, wouldn't you?’
      • ‘As her interpreter explained: ‘This thing has been going on here for some time on the quiet.’’
      • ‘It's found the perfect cover for lies - appoint someone who's retiring to run your dirty tricks campaign, wash your hands of him after you win the election, and look after your hero on the quiet.’
      • ‘But it is a policy that must be pursued on the quiet so as not to spook the country's growing legion of foreign creditors.’
      • ‘We've been practising the songs and dances for two months on the quiet.’
      • ‘But on the quiet, Henry's young son, born to Jane Seymour (wife number three), was being educated by Protestants.’
      • ‘He says, ‘I do my bit to improve the world but I think it's very important to get things done on the quiet.’’
      • ‘Dana says that this is a major issue to which the main parties have turned a blind eye and that it has been allowed to creep up on the quiet.’
      • ‘I shall certainly be voting for them, on the quiet, of course.’
      in secret, secretly, furtively, stealthily, sneakily, slyly, surreptitiously, covertly, clandestinely, on the sly, on the side, behind someone's back, under cover
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  • (as) quiet as a mouse (or lamb)

    • (of a person or animal) extremely quiet or docile.

      • ‘Sometimes, when Josie knew know no one would notice, she'd creep downstairs to the kitchen as quiet as a mouse and tiptoe out the back door when the cook wasn't looking.’
      • ‘He went back to the other children and was as quiet as a mouse, but he kept stealing a glance towards the fireplace.’
      • ‘The faithful animal, which was in general as quiet as a lamb, became like a raging tiger every time he saw the person who had murdered his master.’
      • ‘Maddie, as quiet as a mouse, inched her way out of the room, shutting the door behind her.’
      • ‘Even the five year old, already quiet as a mouse, seems to relax as the tension passes out of the room.’
      • ‘It's only a short while and I'm sure he'll be as quiet as a mouse.’
      • ‘I will not bother you, I will be as quiet as a mouse,’ Katrina promised.’
      • ‘Then she crept up the stairs, avoiding the spots that squeaked, and then snuck to her room, quiet as a mouse.’
      • ‘Michael - our Michael, quiet as a mouse, never fights back Michael - yells, ‘Leave her alone!’’
      • ‘She was always as quiet as a mouse, but I knew she was heartbroken.’


Middle English (originally as a noun denoting peace as opposed to war): via Old French, based on Latin quies, quiet- ‘repose, quiet’.