Definition of silo in English:



  • 1A tall tower or pit on a farm used to store grain.

    • ‘Just as I imagined it, with cows everywhere and lots of farms, silos, grain elevators, lakes - the whole nine yards.’
    • ‘To the ugly-American eye it looks like a vast and patchy soccer field, bordered by stockyards, grain silos and the clanging docks of Port au Spain.’
    • ‘Such owners could be the farms, the silo owners, or other companies storing the goods in their warehouses.’
    • ‘The banks, which provide credit and cash, have been looted, irrigation systems destroyed, road travel restricted, markets closed, warehouses and grain silos pillaged.’
    • ‘He came up with the idea for converting the grain silo while converting the barn next door to his home in Long Compton.’
    • ‘Machine sheds, empty livestock buildings, and silos can all hold grain, provided you do some preparation work.’
    • ‘At that time it was a conventional row-crop farm with an unused barn and silos.’
    • ‘By the 1920s a state-subsidized system of grain elevators, silos, and storage at railheads helped to ease the cycle of glut and scarcity.’
    • ‘Walla Walla's main agricultural product used to be collected in the grain silos idling around town; its new mainstay is preserved in bottles, and poured for all comers on almost every corner.’
    • ‘Dust explosions such as these have occurred in silos where grain is stored.’
    • ‘The reform began as a way to enable large agricultural co-ops to raise funds to build facilities like grain silos.’
    • ‘The banners have been attached to one of the most industrially beautiful buildings in the area, the landmark grain silos, built in 1924 and once the tallest structures in the city.’
    • ‘They planned ahead and erected grain silos at least in each district to store adequate stocks, in some cases, to last for two farming seasons.’
    • ‘Their apparently dull images of grain silos, blast furnaces and water towers are categorised and grouped, forcing us to home in on details of construction.’
    • ‘Farmer George has just obtained planning permission to erect a corn silo on the farm and Dan Dill believes that this will spoil his view.’
    • ‘Be ready to point out the similarity between a wind tower and existing communications towers, or even grain elevators and silos, he said.’
    • ‘There are many public concerns about the safety of food products, from the farm to the silo, from the paddock to the abattoir, and from the food processors to the supermarket and eventually the dinner plate at home.’
    • ‘Another plus: the risk analysis database helps managers determine the condition of carryover grain in silos before the new harvest.’
    • ‘Norwegian farmers played a prominent role in its activities and advocacy, which included such socialist goals as public control and operation of grain silos, and the sale of wheat.’
    • ‘It was one of the largest superlocal co-op chains of grain silos in the Midwest and aggressively tried new ventures, from raising hogs to processing soybeans for food.’
    storeroom, storehouse, warehouse, repository, depository, entrepôt
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A pit or other airtight structure in which green crops are compressed and stored as silage.
      • ‘At this point the stover part of the plant has good digestibility, and the moisture is usually in the desired range for storage in airtight silos.’
      • ‘Many farmers store and ferment these alfalfa clippings in silos.’
      • ‘The buildings, ranged along a street, are simple stone structures with only one room, but all equipped with silos or dolia (enormous storage jars) partly buried in their floors.’
      • ‘He feeds silage when lack of rain reduces pasture potential, ensiling sorghum-Sudangrass, soybeans or pasture clippings in trench silos.’
  • 2An underground chamber in which a guided missile is kept ready for firing.

    • ‘The air force is also responsible for the intercontinental ballistic missiles deployed in silos in the western United States.’
    • ‘Initially stored horizontally in above-ground buildings with removable roofs, the missiles later moved to underground horizontal facilities and finally to underground vertical silos.’
    • ‘We're sending a spaceship over a the sited missile silos we found from aerial photographs.’
    • ‘The nuclear powers have in the years since moved from reliance on manned bombers for nuclear delivery towards greater use of missiles based in silos on land and in submarines at sea.’
    • ‘The red vertical cylindrical shapes of the missile silos stood silent watch over their companions.’
    • ‘Because we have seen the pictures, we know there are still 500 missile silos with people sitting in them with their fingers on the button.’
    • ‘The submarine constitutes a double-hulled configuration with missile silos housed in the inner hull.’
    • ‘Henchmen are known as the ‘can do’ guys, the utility workers who have no problem mopping the nuclear missile silo one moment and then getting beaten up by superheroes the next.’
    • ‘The first 10 Minuteman missiles were on combat alert in their underground silos by October 1962.’
    • ‘The orbital defence system was in tatters, with barely any working laser cannons and no missile silos left.’
    • ‘This system allowed Looking Glass to transmit launch codes to the intercontinental ballistic missiles in their underground silos should ground launch control centers become disabled.’
    • ‘A life-sized sculpture of a cruise missile commemorates the base's Cold War role, and the council is also planning to buy the three remaining missile silos from the Ministry of Defence.’
    • ‘If the Soviets attacked first, then there would be no point in destroying empty missile silos that had already launched; the only thing left to hit would be cities.’
    • ‘We're located in Tucson AZ, the sweltering armpit of the southwest desert region, surrounded by the empty shafts of defunct cold-war missile silos.’
    • ‘The report comes as the U.S. is preparing to start lowering the first interceptor missiles into newly built silos at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.’
    • ‘If this distinction were ever true, it was only in the depths of the Cold War, when the eyes of satellites were to focus on Soviet missile silos.’
    • ‘Intelligence isn't simply counting missile silos as some might believe.’
    • ‘Protected in underground silos, the new missiles were ready for immediate launch.’
    • ‘In August 1965, a civilian crew was working underground in the silo of this missile site and a fire erupted, killing 53 workers.’
    • ‘I lived in Kansas for a time as a child during the 60's where my father worked on the missile silos.’
  • 3A system, process, department, etc. that operates in isolation from others:

    ‘it's vital that team members step out of their silos and start working together’
    [as modifier] ‘we have made significant strides in breaking down that silo mentality’
    • ‘We end up with competing initiatives and synergistic opportunities living in the different silos of our company.’
    • ‘In a globalized world, is it helpful to consider economic prosperity, foreign policy, and security and migration in separate silos?’
    • ‘This structure is typically described as two silos, each reporting up through different management structures.’
    • ‘Rarely is there any sharing of risk knowledge or strategy in this so-called silo approach.’
    • ‘The problem is, the surfeit of data sits in silos, available only to one particular agency.’
    • ‘While many enterprises have physical security programs in place, they are often in an organizational silo separate from information security.’
    • ‘The Internet media requires that we can't operate in our functional silos.’
    • ‘The figure is the result of changes in corporate structure that have replaced silos with cross-functional divisions.’
    • ‘For example, compare the distinct value sets underlying logistics management including human resources, operations and marketing, and transport which are usually organized as distinct functions or functional silos.’
    • ‘Customer relationship management is a horizontal application, yet we're faced with a lot of vertical silos.’
    • ‘For faculty it has been tremendous, a real breaching of the walls and silos of the campus.’
    • ‘Effective collaboration often takes place only when the would-be collaborators enlist hierarchical line managers to resolve conflicts between competing organizational silos.’
    • ‘Linux didn't come from a silo, and it had no ambitions to be a silo.’
    • ‘I do not back up my data silos frequently enough.’
    • ‘Communications cannot sit in a silo within an organisation but must cross workstreams and practices to create one single voice.’
    • ‘The computing tier of data centers still looks like a collection of hardwired boxes, each dedicated to a specific application silo.’
    • ‘The biggest surprise moving from the academic to the "real world" has been the strength of organizational forces that reinforce silos.’
    • ‘For employees whose entire careers have played out within the shelter of one functional silo, this is a fearsome prospect.’
    • ‘Perhaps if the focus had been on networking capabilities and sharing data across silos, America would be a safer country today.’
    • ‘It's as if we're spending all of our time building information silos in which piles of data are essentially unconnected.’


  • Isolate (one system, process, department, etc.) from others:

    ‘most companies have expensive IT systems they have developed over the years, but they are siloed’
    ‘why are so many companies still siloing their SEO and social media marketing?’
    ‘managers have been told to break down the walls between siloed applications’
    • ‘Advertising and PR - once separate and siloed professions - are not as distinct as they once were.’
    • ‘What is common between all these services is that they provide a simple API to a wealth of data, enabling unprecedented cross-pollination between previously siloed information.’
    • ‘We're not siloing those risks anymore, and our mitigation strategies aren't siloed either.’
    • ‘We knew that there was a lot of data siloed inside companies and that if you could get a handle on the data, you could really solve the customers' problems.’
    • ‘If you look at all the research that's done now, on the media side, on the product usage side, it's all siloed.’
    • ‘I wish he had gone a step further instead of continuing to silo the problems of health care, climate change and economic crisis.’
    • ‘The old structures of siloed, hierarchical organisations are almost gone.’
    • ‘"Mobile deployment should not result in siloed information," Truscott says.’
    • ‘Internet divisions at Web-enhanced firms were initially siloed, but are evolving into semi-autonomous business units at many companies.’
    • ‘Design used to be siloed, viewed by most as peripheral and unimportant.’
    • ‘In a highly complex world, where multiple groups might need to unite to solve a client's problems, old-style siloed thinking just won't cut it.’
    • ‘He requested a weekly luncheon with the president and freedom to range across all areas rather than being ‘siloed’ in a handful of policy areas.’
    • ‘He found that his manufacturing teams were so siloed that they caused expensive production breaks.’
    • ‘It's inevitable that information has been siloed in the young technologies of the internet, and it's taken until now to clearly establish the points of commonality between different social tools.’
    • ‘The third problem is that data is siloed.’
    • ‘In the past, research was very siloed, very much an individual effort.’


Mid 19th century: from Spanish, via Latin from Greek siros corn pit.