Definition of quiet in US 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’
    • ‘Rich foliage, soft lighting and the quiet hum of the other diners' conversations create a welcoming ambience.’
    • ‘A soft noise came from inside, a quiet shuffling and a low muttering.’
    • ‘He kept his disappointments to himself, a quiet murmur of disapproval usually being as far as it went.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The house was relatively quiet except for the noise coming from the kitchen.’
    • ‘He woke up with a start and realized that he had heard a quiet noise outside his door.’
    • ‘The first thing that strikes you is the contrast between the quiet and loud noises.’
    • ‘You can reduce this noise by selecting quiet equipment or by mounting the unit on a noise-absorbing base.’
    • ‘There is something very peaceful and satisfying about the sound of their quiet munching and the noise of their feet on frosty grass.’
    • ‘The air was hot, the night still, and, but for the gentle noises of the river, all was quiet.’
    • ‘She awoke to the sound of shuffling feet and many muffled voices whispering in tones too quiet to be heard clearly.’
    • ‘As well as giving an impressive blend of performance and economy, the new engine is also quiet.’
    • ‘There was a quiet humming from the engines, and it quickly put me to sleep.’
    • ‘Microphones can suffer from distortion with very loud signals or from noise with very quiet signals.’
    • ‘Earphones are put over your ears and quiet clicking noises are played to each ear.’
    • ‘The only noise in the car was the whisperings of the two in the back seat and the quiet rumble of the engine.’
    • ‘Already, she could hear the quiet, muffled noise of violins and people talking.’
    • ‘Even at these speeds, engine noise was quiet, with only small amounts of road and wind noise.’
    • ‘No more out in the garden for a bit of peace and quiet, just noise and pollution.’
    • ‘He pulled the trembling girl into his arms, smoothing her hair and making quiet shushing noises.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yet, not all places were quiet and devoid of activity on Tuesday.’
      • ‘The place is quiet, and I'm kinda excited to have my space back, but not excited enough to be glad they're gone.’
      • ‘Even yesterday, when the roads were relatively quiet, stationary traffic stretched the length of Kingshill.’
      • ‘It gives apprentices exposure to different employers and employers some flexibility during quiet periods of inactivity.’
      • ‘When you study on your own find a quiet place, like in your room.’
      • ‘House prices in east-central Scotland rallied at the end of last year despite a traditionally quiet period for sales, new figures reveal.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Until yesterday, this was a quiet place, even while the people on either side were clearly distressed by a new and awkward tension.’
      • ‘According to the sources, the cuts were made to increase demand during one of the market's more quiet periods.’
      • ‘She also blames the row on the media desperately looking for an argument in the quiet holiday period.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Roman Lancashire was a quiet place, but not the back water that some historians have made of it.’
      • ‘It's a snug, quiet place with terraced lawns leading down to the Island's best sandy beaches.’
      • ‘Normally, it is a very quiet place to live with little activity, but at race time it gets very busy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘By the time the outcome is known, we will have entered the traditionally quiet summer period that usually lasts from May to September.’
      • ‘It's a quiet place and I like to be in a quiet place after a day's work.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It meant all thoughts of a quiet drink were shattered.’
      • ‘We spent a quiet time eating and drinking and chatting until, around 4pm, we drove Mum home.’
      • ‘We'd just gone out for a few quiet drinks and the pub was half-empty.’
      • ‘If you want a quiet drink, avoid times when the footie is on the telly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Already, a quiet drink in the pub is forever interrupted by people rattling charity boxes.’
      • ‘Many travellers are denied the opportunity to enjoy a quiet drink, she added.’
      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’
    • ‘They may not be grabbing headlines or standing out but they are having quiet words in ears and giving assurance.’
    • ‘I'm going to suggest somebody has a quiet word in her ear.’
    • ‘A year ago, when this column began, a respected magazine editor offered a quiet word of warning.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Police Prosecutor correctly had a quiet word with the JP to correct matters.’
    • ‘If it does, maybe you should have a quiet word with the waiter.’
    • ‘But he will be having a quiet word with ‘one or two riders’ before the match.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Hardly a week goes by without the police bleating that they would like ‘a quiet word’ with a celebrity over some alleged incident.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I was compelled to go and have a quiet word with the lighting man, who very kindly obliged me and reduced the glare factor.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Changing the subject in an almost arbitrary fashion - I'd just like to have a quiet word with the Conservative Party.’
    • ‘I went to my secret spot, a quiet beach in Madh Island and cried my heart out.’
    • ‘There are several white marble benches to sit on to enjoy the quiet beauty of this secret garden.’
    • ‘Hillary had obviously had a quiet word with her husband in the kitchen, because when he came back, he was far more subdued.’
    • ‘His third wedding was quiet and private, with only his closest friends invited.’
    • ‘In other words, only quiet demonstrations of picnic proportions would be allowable.’
    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) tranquil and reserved by nature; not brash or forceful.
      ‘his quiet, middle-aged parents’
      • ‘Johnny was a very quiet man who was soft-spoken and gentle.’
      • ‘He was a modest and quiet person with a profound knowledge in most fields of scientific ornithology.’
      • ‘His students and friends will always warmly remember him as a man of gentle, unassuming and quiet personality.’
      • ‘His sister said he was quiet by nature with an acerbic wit.’
      • ‘Chris, a fairly reserved and quiet fellow, is going to have to learn what it means to be talked to all the time.’
      • ‘He was quiet and unassuming gentleman who was very highly thought of by all who knew him.’
      • ‘You are more quiet and reserved in front of strangers, but around some people you open up.’
      • ‘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 a quiet man with a gentle disposition who was a popular and well respected member of the local community.’
      • ‘A very quiet individual, his gentlemanly manner endeared him to all who made his acquaintance.’
      • ‘He was quite a reserved, quiet chap, more of a listener than a talker, perhaps.’
      • ‘He is a quiet man by nature, the last player one would expect to run off his mouth in the locker room.’
      • ‘They are quiet, modest individuals that let you get on with your own thing.’
      • ‘He was quiet and calm and reflective and always helpful.’
      • ‘An unassuming and quiet woman from Norway runs a coastal rehabilitation unit that rescues beaches from oil slicks.’
      • ‘They describe him as a quiet man who lived here with his parents and also with his younger brother.’
      • ‘She is calm, she is cool, she is quiet, she is unassuming.’
      • ‘Some bull terriers are much more reticent than others and would be more suitable for a quiet person and a calm household.’
      • ‘Kelly told me that, while she was growing up, her father was quiet, distant, and emotionally reserved.’
      calm, equable, serene, composed, cool, calm, and collected, placid, untroubled, peaceful, peaceable, tranquil, gentle, mild, phlegmatic, imperturbable, unexcitable
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    2. 2.2attributive 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.’
      • ‘His eyes, too, seemed to hide a certain understanding, the kind of cool display of quiet confidence and mystery.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She always had composure, but now she carried a quiet but firm dignity.’
      • ‘The urban Indian woman's newfound poise and quiet confidence were on show.’
      • ‘This is not a restrained man of quiet honour, but a proud warrior of the sea - hair flowing in the breeze.’
      • ‘He got the job done in his own quiet, unassuming, understated way.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What attracted my attention was the air of quiet confidence and serenity that emanated from her.’
      • ‘A pleasant, modest demeanour seems to shelter a quiet strength and confidence.’
      • ‘Simple chords, restrained riffs and quiet imagery lead to just a perfect pathos running through each and every song.’
      • ‘Indeed, in their own quiet, understated way, that's what they've always done.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Styling is not too flashy, yet exudes class and a quiet confidence.’
      • ‘The mood of this film, the quiet confidence of its telling, the gorgeous cinematography has to be seen to be understood.’
      • ‘There is a quiet confidence about this exhibition; a modesty which belies the fact that it represents nothing less than a revolution.’
      • ‘His quiet confidence in his mates shines through.’
      • ‘Wendy has been giving readings since 1980, so she has earned a quiet confidence in what might work.’
      • ‘Exuding a quiet confidence, he is obviously somebody who is sure of his own abilities, yet unpresumptuous about what the future might hold.’
    3. 2.3 (of a color or garment) unobtrusive; not bright or showy.
      unobtrusive, unostentatious, unpretentious, restrained, reserved
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  • 1Absence of noise or bustle; silence; calm.

    ‘the ringing of the telephone shattered the early morning quiet’
    • ‘The cotton fields lay quiet in the hot morning sun; not even a gust of wind disturbed them.’
    • ‘I live downtown because I don't want that kind of peace and quiet.’
    • ‘The pace is dictated by the early morning quiet of a misty golf course laid out along Georgia's ocean coast.’
    • ‘The quiet of the morning and the dark really got to Cassie as she hugged her jacket tighter to her small form.’
    • ‘The air was still and calm, the forest quiet but for the sounds of small animals, making their way from tree to tree.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We were rewarded with the sound of calling Whooping Cranes piercing the quiet of the early morning, then a close fly over.’
    • ‘The quiet in the apartment was calming, refreshing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each morning of their journey dawned grey, deadly quiet, and expectant.’
    • ‘It was a cold spring morning and the city was deadly quiet.’
    • ‘The stillness and quiet of the night made the place seem almost reverent, as if something long ago had happened here.’
    • ‘That begs the question, what kind of an idiot moves into a building next to a nightclub expecting peace and quiet?’
    • ‘The calm quiet of where I was beckoned me to linger a little longer.’
    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’
      • ‘Husband Brian offered no sympathy but couldn't wait for the peace and quiet.’
      • ‘The greatest luxury of having an office in the house is the peace and quiet, and no valuable time wasted commuting.’
      • ‘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 suffering from cabin fever and longing for some peace and quiet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Their need for peace and quiet must be respected.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The thing is, I don't think I'm particularly sensitive, though I'll be the first to admit I like 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 like to read and mind my own business in peace and quiet.’
      • ‘Once we get to dinner time the peace and quiet is shattered by three ravening teenagers all demanding food and demanding it now.’
      • ‘Enjoying the peace and quiet of a nice chair is one of life's few pleasures.’
      • ‘In the guest room Tess has been given, her peace and quiet has been disturbed by a group of women all talking at once.’
      • ‘On the other side, from his family's perspective, he just simply wanted some peace and quiet.’
      • ‘I was desperate for an evening of peace and quiet, and a bit of easy entertainment, but I was being denied it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have a right to live in peace and quiet like any human being.’
      • ‘They should be allowed to live in peace and quiet.’
      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 reerupted in August’
      • ‘Has the organisation begun another deadly bombing campaign after some months of relative quiet?’
      • ‘The brutal crushing of the protests ushered in a period of uneasy quiet in the country's politics.’
      • ‘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 onto the dais’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I mean, the dog is as big as her on his forelegs and she quiets him with a touch.’
    • ‘As the play begins, everyone quiets down and behaves.’
    • ‘Elinor quiets herself, and determines to act cheerful and normal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His silences often precede a weighty thought though I doubt the rattling in his head ever quiets.’
    • ‘As I come out with a stack of napkins and some plates, their conversation quiets and dies down, and we all eat.’
    • ‘His mind quiets, his muscles begin to un-knit, and his posture resumes something closer to normal rather than poised and defensive.’
    • ‘The audience quiets down as John slowly turns and stares at one general spot in the crowd.’
    • ‘The commotion gradually quiets down and the judge looks at the jury.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Nick stands up, which quiets both of the younger men at once.’
    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.

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

      • ‘Caillan assures him that he will keep this information quiet.’
      • ‘He dismissed claims that the discovery was kept quiet until last Thursday's General Election was over.’
      • ‘What about companies who prefer to keep things quiet as a trade secret?’
      • ‘Many IT users believe that so long as they keep their password quiet, for example, then their information is safe.’
      • ‘Apparently, the Secret Service was keeping quiet about the events of the previous day.’
      • ‘Oh, he could keep quiet about a secret like no one else!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Shouldn't we all just keep quiet about our shared secret?’
      • ‘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?’
      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.

      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I shall certainly be voting for them, on the quiet, of course.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I always kept it going, but did it on the quiet, as a separate part of the business.’
      • ‘As her interpreter explained: ‘This thing has been going on here for some time on the quiet.’’
      • ‘We've been practising the songs and dances for two months on the quiet.’
      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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He went back to the other children and was as quiet as a mouse, but he kept stealing a glance towards the fireplace.’
      • ‘She was always as quiet as a mouse, but I knew she was heartbroken.’
      • ‘Michael - our Michael, quiet as a mouse, never fights back Michael - yells, ‘Leave her alone!’’
      • ‘I will not bother you, I will be as quiet as a mouse,’ Katrina promised.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then she crept up the stairs, avoiding the spots that squeaked, and then snuck to her room, quiet as a mouse.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's only a short while and I'm sure he'll be as quiet as a mouse.’


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