Definition of cone of silence in English:

cone of silence


  • 1An imaginary device that prevents eavesdropping on a private conversation.

    • ‘Our spy in the Press Gallery breaks the cone of silence surrounding the party room spin.’
    • ‘In this kind of situation, touchy subjects are skirted and cones of silence descend.’
    • ‘The surly Queenslander has brought down the cone of silence, apparently, because he has the pip with the way the media has handled his decision to banish a promising youngster to Toowoomba.’
    • ‘A cone of silence descended over the large crowd gathered at the stage while one of the greatest shooters in the world frantically tried to clear his gun.’
    • ‘So the closet in professional sport is literally a massive cone of silence and the door swings both ways in gender bias.’
    • ‘The second sound that intrudes into the embattled cop's cone of silence is the splashing of his would-be killer's blood onto the floor.’
    • ‘However he might be advised to use the cone of silence from time to time.’
    • ‘Residents and the media were denied access to the roads that service the area, creating a virtual cone of silence.’
    • ‘Big companies with the highest classifications of sensitive information are sufficiently compartmentalized, while noninvolved company business goes on outside the cone of silence.’
    1. 1.1 An electronic device or isolated room intended for the same purpose.
      • ‘The cone of silence, called Babble, is actually a device composed of a sound processor and several speakers that multiply and scramble voices that come within its range.’
  • 2A directive that prohibits oral communication about a specified subject.

    • ‘Adding to the intrigue is ‘NW owner Corus' dropping of the cone of silence on the affair.’
    • ‘The latter may well involve the use of firewalls, cones of silence, and other appropriate techniques.’
    • ‘Less amusing is the cone of silence too often used these days by public companies.’
    1. 2.1 An agreement or conspiracy to maintain secrecy about a subject.
      • ‘The Treasurer attacked the league over what he said was a cone of silence surrounding allegations of sexual assault at the launch of a campaign targeting violence against women.’
      • ‘It was a crime that was protected by a cone of silence.’
      • ‘Sure, the Liberals are a broad church, but Howard's predecessor Malcolm Fraser did do the right thing according to the fundamental tenets of Liberalism, albeit under a cone of silence.’
      • ‘I am in the usual cone of silence, which is so reminiscent of June 1 2001 it is sickening.’
      • ‘Will the scandal - and CBS's reluctant willingness to break the cone of silence about the use of torture - finally lead to a serious investigation?’
      • ‘‘When a complaint is made about violence, it should not be the subject of a cone of silence in the club or amongst those who may have information,’ Costello said.’
      • ‘Since we have pre-paid parking, I should be able to get out fast afterwards and maintain the cone of silence concerning the game's result until I get safely home.’
      • ‘I hope Edwards has more success in getting the truth out of Howard than we journos, who've been unable to penetrate Howard spin doctors' cone of silence.’
      • ‘But he tosses aside the cone of silence that party faithful maintain around their president.’


1960s: originally a fantasy prop in the television series "Get Smart".