Definition of silver in English:

silver

noun

mass noun
  • 1A precious shiny greyish-white metal, the chemical element of atomic number 47.

    as modifier ‘a silver necklace’
    • ‘Silver fillings are actually made of a combination of metals including silver, tin, copper and mercury.’
    • ‘He described the ratios between the densities of gold, mercury, lead, silver, bronze, copper, brass, iron, and tin.’
    • ‘Metal coins had an intrinsic value based on the scarcity of the elements used in making them (usually copper, silver, gold).’
    • ‘And the only way to do that is to return to using real gold and silver, and maybe copper, as currency.’
    • ‘Its most common ore is sylvanite, a complex combination of gold, silver, and tellurium.’
    • ‘Gold, silver and precious stones along with other vessels and works of art made his tomb a virtual gold mine.’
    • ‘For most wavelengths of visible light, aluminum allows plasmons to travel farther than other metals such as gold, silver and copper.’
    • ‘Copper, gold and silver can all be recovered from discarded computers.’
    • ‘White gold, which is a mixture of gold, silver, copper and palladium, is now considered to be more trendy than real gold.’
    • ‘The ores generally yielded a blend of gold and silver with copper.’
    • ‘Rhenium is not attacked by molten copper, silver, tin, or zinc.’
    • ‘However, he had no difficulty in desecrating and looting the temple of tons of gold, silver and precious stones before burning it.’
    • ‘For example, all of the gold, silver, and copper came from the Egyptians.’
    • ‘In practice, precious metals such as gold or silver, metals in stable and high demand per unit weight, have won out over all other commodities as moneys.’
    • ‘Beryllium, calcium, silver and antimony have no appreciable effect on mechanical properties.’
    • ‘Unlike gold, silver or other precious metals, copper is primarily an industrial metal sold by copper producers to large manufacturers.’
    • ‘At the nearby processing plant copper, uranium oxide, gold and silver are produced for the Australian and overseas markets.’
    • ‘They're placed into a scoring range for bronze, silver, gold, platinum.’
    • ‘In addition to iron as stated above, gold, silver, diamond and other metals and precious stones etc. were gifted to India in abundance.’
    • ‘Metals like silver, nickel and gold are a perfect medium for coinage because of their durability and the value accorded by their relative rarity.’
  • 2A shiny grey-white colour or appearance like that of silver.

    ‘the dark hair was now highlighted with silver’
    • ‘And three years ago Elizabeth Taylor briefly abandoned her trademark black bouffant for shocking silver, and what an impact it made.’
    • ‘It will appear in three colours - silver, black and blue.’
    • ‘A gleaming and glittering twist on gray, silver is the complementary colour of gold.’
    • ‘It too is available in a range of colours: silver, blue, ‘velvet’ and orange.’
    • ‘She has beautifully and brilliantly caught different moods of water in colours black, white and silver.’
    • ‘They are all normal colours, silver, or white, and never-ever purple.’
    • ‘Patricia's holdall style bag is dark silver in colour.’
    • ‘But I went to a colour lady one time who told me that I should wear silver, sky blue and another which I have forgotten.’
    • ‘The primary colour is silver, and you can select red, black or blue as the secondary colour.’
    • ‘It smelled like ammonia and it was all a blurry colour of silver, blue and white that made it feel scientific and clinical.’
    • ‘My favourite colours are silver, brown and rose.’
    • ‘He wore the clothes of a petty nobleman; grey and silver embroidered with royal blue and purple.’
    • ‘The brushtail possum has a fur similar in quality to mink and colours range from silver to red brown to dark brown.’
    • ‘Grey-haired people look good in silver and softer colours.’
    • ‘The bezel is two toned, though the primary colour is silver, which matches the rest of the case.’
    • ‘So maybe the cowboy boots do look kind of spiffy after a few licks of silver, purple, yellow and green.’
    • ‘Unlike the stuffed one I saw originally, which had yellowed with age, the Nile Perch is silver in colour with a blue tinge.’
    • ‘The octagonal shelter, which is coloured purple and silver, has seats and roof.’
    • ‘On display were a riot of classy colours, gold, silver, maroons and black.’
    • ‘Finally, it comes in a choice of seven colours: black, silver, red, yellow, blue, white and green.’
  • 3Silver dishes, containers, or cutlery.

    ‘thieves stole £5,000 worth of silver’
    ‘the family silver’
    • ‘I could have just driven away with the family silver for all she knew.’
    • ‘These pieces of land are like the family silver and shouldn't be lost to communities.’
    • ‘Thousands of pounds worth of jewellery and silver has been stolen as well as computer hardware.’
    • ‘I just wouldn't let them anywhere near the family silver.’
    • ‘If you're lucky to reach this hallowed ground, you'll be flattered and coddled until you've given up the family silver.’
    • ‘The collection consists of more than fifty pieces of family silver and thirty-nine paintings.’
    • ‘The moonlight grew brighter, like silver when it is polished.’
    • ‘We have been pawning the family silver to pleasure ourselves.’
    • ‘Phelps found that his gold watch, the family silver and his loose cash were in plain sight, but had been left alone.’
    • ‘Elsewhere in the gallery a high security case contains the town council's silver, with extra silverware from St Andrew's parish church.’
    • ‘It is like giving somebody you meet in the street your house key, not changing the locks and then being surprised when the family silver goes missing.’
    • ‘Just days ago the Elliott family silver and a collection of prized John Gould bird prints went under the hammer at a Melbourne auction.’
    • ‘It was not the Greeks' practice to place the family silver in graves, nor was it subjected to deep polishing.’
    • ‘Sales of silver and glass have been sluggish, with the exception of cutlery, Irish provincial silver, Irish and art deco glass.’
    • ‘Part of a hoard of family silver which vanished for more than 100 years was yesterday sold at auction for nearly £8,000.’
    • ‘Glass bottles are highly collectable, and some folk proudly display their bottles in much the same way as other people display the family silver or fine bone china.’
    • ‘During the reign of James, sales of Crown land provided the family silver of the period.’
    • ‘But further back there was an earl, and the family had a heraldic crest and some silver, bits of which Orwell pawned to raise money to fight in Spain.’
    • ‘It's not like I'm taking food out of the kiddies' mouths or swapping the family silver for an 1873 Colt.’
    • ‘Yet a small group of CEOs and financiers managed to save the family silver before the house burned to the ground.’
    silverware, plate, silver plate
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Household cutlery of any material.
      • ‘Near the sink a small pile of dishes and silver were waiting to be washed, dried and put away.’
      • ‘The dining tables are set with period silver and china, and mannequins are dressed in authentic costumes.’
      silverware, plate, silver plate
      View synonyms
  • 4Coins made from silver or from a metal that resembles silver.

    ‘George dipped his hand into his pocket and brought out some small silver’
    • ‘Its platform called for the free coinage of silver and plenty of paper money.’
    • ‘I remember looking into one and seeing a little dining table laid out with tiny silver cutlery.’
    • ‘The manager of the shop arrived to find the lock smashed, and the money, all silver and coppers, all gone.’
    • ‘British imports of tea were steadily increasing during the early nineteenth century, and the Chinese would accept only specie, usually silver, in payment.’
    • ‘I tend to pick out the one pound coins and the silver to buy my lunch the next day so generally it's just the coppers that are left.’
    coins, coinage, specie
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1Scottish Money.
      • ‘He had lent him some silver to pay his seamstress's bill. -’
      cash, hard cash, ready money
      View synonyms
  • 5

    ‘she won three silvers’
    short for silver medal
    • ‘Between them they won 7 gold medals, 3 silvers and 3 bronze - more than any national team won in track and field at the Games, except America itself.’
    • ‘She was just one of many fine performers for the York club, who picked up 17 golds, 11 silvers and eight bronze medals.’
    • ‘The U.S. had 14 gold, 10 silver and 6 bronze medals, while the Jamaicans achieved 2 gold medals and three silvers.’
    • ‘Sailing has become a hot bed of medal action for Great Britain at recent Olympiads with five golds, three silvers and two bronze medals snared on the water in 2004 and 2000.’
    • ‘This is the eighth time they have made the Olympic semi-finals and they have a respectable haul of three silvers and three bronzes.’
    • ‘Pool playing reached a frenzy after the 1998 Asian games, when the Chinese Taipei team won three gold medals, two silvers and a bronze.’
    • ‘It has eight gold medals, 14 silvers and 19 bronzes.’
    • ‘Four years after that, Bode Miller's two silvers, in giant slalom and combined, were the only U.S. medals.’
    • ‘Halfway through the tenth day of the Olympics, China topped the medals table with 23 golds, 15 silvers and 11 bronzes - one gold ahead of the Americans.’
    • ‘The senior and junior Welsh teams exceeded all expectations by collecting eight gold medals, 15 silvers and seven bronzes at the Culinary World Cup.’
    • ‘China had won a total of 11 medals, with three silvers and two bronze, while Australia have won nine.’
    • ‘The five gold medals, five silvers and 15 bronzes were the highest number garnered by local innovators at the China International Exhibition of Inventions, held in Shanghai.’
    • ‘Now 35, this is his last chance of adding a gold to his two Olympic silvers.’
    • ‘Taiwan grabbed two gold medals, two silvers and one bronze at the Athens Olympics.’
    • ‘However, the lead was temporary as Germany went ahead with four golds, two silvers and four bronze medals late Sunday (Hong Kong time).’
    • ‘He has won three golds, two silvers and three bronzes at world championships in the past five years, along with an Olympic silver and Commonwealth gold.’
    • ‘Poland and Hungary each earned two golds, one silver, and one bronze.’
    • ‘Great Britain have won nine gold medals, 10 silvers and six bronze.’
    • ‘Todate he has participated in six international events and has won himself a gold medal and three silvers.’
    • ‘Australia have made the finals three times in the past but have yet to win a gold medal to add to their haul of three silvers and three bronzes.’
    silver medal, second prize
    View synonyms

A transition metal, silver is found in nature in the uncombined state as well as in ores. It is valued for use in jewellery and other ornaments and formerly in coins, and the decomposition of silver salts by the action of light (depositing metallic silver) is the basis of photography

verb

[with object]often as adjective silvered
  • 1Coat or plate with silver.

    ‘large silvered candlesticks’
    • ‘The idol is silvered with the electrolytic process.’
    • ‘Also in the Metropolitan Museum is a silvered and patinated copper jardiniere designed by Reiber for Christofle.’
    • ‘Benneman repolished the veneers, restored the silvered containers for writing materials, repolished the marble top, relined the inside of the drop-front with green Morocco leather, restored the locks and provided a new key.’
    • ‘Some late 17th century and early 18th century brass and copper pieces of high quality were originally silvered.’
    • ‘It was a small shiny object, a ‘roundel’, which caught my eye because its surface was silvered or tinned.’
    • ‘The designer's simple but effective set has an Egyptian court, denoted by familiar golden iconography, standing opposite silvered pillars of Rome.’
    • ‘The first examples had painted wood or engraved and silvered dials similar to those of long case clocks.’
    plate with silver, coat with silver, overlay with silver, laminate with silver, back with silver
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Provide (mirror glass) with a backing of a silver-coloured material in order to make it reflective.
      ‘a silvered looking glass’
      • ‘I leaned forward, so close to the silvered glass that my breath misted it slightly, partially obscuring my twin's mouth and nose.’
      • ‘Optical interferometry is a technique that splits a laser beam into two beams by using a partially silvered mirror.’
      • ‘The ball itself was modelled with a silvered glass sphere of the correct diameter.’
      • ‘One drawing on a silvered mirror panel presents an axonometric rendering of a cubic form extending outward from the central image along parallel lines.’
      • ‘Yet Stork determined the probable focal length of a concave mirror made by inverting and silvering the convex mirror shown in the painting.’
      • ‘‘I've always liked mirrors,’ Lyra mused, turning this way and that as she studied her reflection in the silvered glass.’
      • ‘Alternatively, silvered glass could be substituted for transparent glass.’
      • ‘Onto this rubber membrane we attached a tiny piece of silvered glass, which acted as a mirror.’
      • ‘Instead of silvered glass, however, the frame contains an oval of the same translucent blue Plexiglas, which invites introspection instead of mere self-contemplation.’
      • ‘A sheet of glass is silvered with a pattern of repeated gestural strokes, making for a shifting lattice of fragmentary reflections and glimpses through the glass.’
      • ‘A block of glass is silvered over the upper portion of the face closest to the laser beam.’
      • ‘He shaved quickly, using his dagger and a piece of silvered glass for a mirror, then dressed in clean clothes from his blanket roll.’
      • ‘McFarlane's interest in the metallurgy of mirrors has led her to denature the silvered surfaces behind the glass so that the mirrors become almost entirely opaque, yet hold and reflect light.’
      • ‘Thus, it seems that mirror glass was silvered not only at glassworks but at looking-glass makers' shops as well.’
      • ‘Silvered mirrors, and marble vases with gold inlay are displayed in a corner.’
    2. 1.2literary (especially of the moon) give a silvery appearance to.
      ‘the brilliant moon silvered the turf’
      • ‘The party of five emerged into the moonlight that silvered the high round of Naples's city wall, a looming mass of dead masonry that could have stood for the soul of the city.’
      • ‘We imagined it curling darkly through the reeds, and saw herons stalking its dusky flats; an owl swooped across waters silvered by the moon.’
      • ‘The other early flowering pulmonaria in our garden is ‘Mary Mottram’ with heavily silvered pale leaves and blue flowers.’
      • ‘The veins are silvered and the brown flower stems grow through, carrying a tiny twist of colour that will eventually be the flowers.’
      • ‘The stars popped out on the black canvas of the sky, and the crescent moon silvered the edges of the clouds, turning each one into a masterpiece.’
    3. 1.3 Turn (a person's hair) grey or white.
      ‘his damp hair, long silvered and now thinning’
      • ‘He turned his head to look at her face, her green eyes sparkling in the moonlight, her hair silvered by it.’
      • ‘Her fur and long hair were silvered, but it did not give her the appearance of being old.’
      • ‘He had black hair that was slightly silvered at the temples, and bright, sparkling blue eyes.’
      • ‘No doubt he was one of those abstracted, lost-in-the-clouds types - it would explain why the rumpled, silvered hair needed cutting.’
    4. 1.4no object (of a person's hair) turn grey or white.
      ‘Alexia remained a young woman even as her hair silvered’
      • ‘He looked almost like her brother, tall, and moderately muscled, with black hair, silvering at the temples.’
      • ‘Pale blond hair that was wispy and starting to silver with her age loosely framed her face.’
      • ‘At nearly 71 the red hair has silvered, but she is far from retired.’
      • ‘His hair was long, dark and thick with waves, silvering where it touched his scalp.’
      • ‘A handsome man with a large head and a shock of dark hair, slightly silvered, he was about to surprise his audience.’
      • ‘The older man looked to be in his early fifties, with dark brown hair beginning to silver at the temples, and dark chestnut eyes.’

Phrases

  • the silver screen

    • The cinema industry; cinema films collectively.

      ‘stars of the silver screen’
      • ‘In recent years, a lot of Marvel superheroes have made the leap from printed page to silver screen.’
      • ‘He is quite possibly the most famous leading man to ever grace the silver screen.’
      • ‘Hollywood dominated the silver screen, and Thai movies were far and few in between.’
      • ‘When did it become wrong for the silver screen to become an escape from the heartache and pain around you?’
      • ‘From what it sounds like, Brooks is just as much a ham in real life as he is on the silver screen.’
      • ‘When real life for many is scarier than anything on the silver screen, why is the lust for fear universal?’
      • ‘Suburbia may not be as exciting as the silver screen, but it's infinitely less embarrassing.’
      • ‘He was a legend, arguably the most beloved actor to grace the silver screen.’
      • ‘This is perhaps one of the most sinister of animated characters ever put on the silver screen.’
      • ‘A film company are looking for locations fit for the silver screen for their latest production.’

Origin

Old English seolfor, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zilver and German Silber.

Pronunciation

silver

/ˈsɪlvə/