Definition of silver in English:



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

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

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

    ‘thieves stole $5,000 worth of silver’
    ‘the family silver’
    • ‘Elsewhere in the gallery a high security case contains the town council's silver, with extra silverware from St Andrew's parish church.’
    • ‘I could have just driven away with the family silver for all she knew.’
    • ‘Phelps found that his gold watch, the family silver and his loose cash were in plain sight, but had been left alone.’
    • ‘The collection consists of more than fifty pieces of family silver and thirty-nine paintings.’
    • ‘Thousands of pounds worth of jewellery and silver has been stolen as well as computer hardware.’
    • ‘If you're lucky to reach this hallowed ground, you'll be flattered and coddled until you've given up the family silver.’
    • ‘We have been pawning the family silver to pleasure ourselves.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I just wouldn't let them anywhere near the family silver.’
    • ‘Just days ago the Elliott family silver and a collection of prized John Gould bird prints went under the hammer at a Melbourne auction.’
    • ‘Yet a small group of CEOs and financiers managed to save the family silver before the house burned to the ground.’
    • ‘It was not the Greeks' practice to place the family silver in graves, nor was it subjected to deep polishing.’
    • ‘It's not like I'm taking food out of the kiddies' mouths or swapping the family silver for an 1873 Colt.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sales of silver and glass have been sluggish, with the exception of cutlery, Irish provincial silver, Irish and art deco glass.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The moonlight grew brighter, like silver when it is polished.’
    • ‘Part of a hoard of family silver which vanished for more than 100 years was yesterday sold at auction for nearly £8,000.’
    • ‘These pieces of land are like the family silver and shouldn't be lost to communities.’
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    1. 3.1Household cutlery of any material.
      ‘it is important to wash table silver in hot soapy water immediately after each meal’
      • ‘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.’
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  • 4Coins made from silver or from a metal that resembles silver.

    • ‘I remember looking into one and seeing a little dining table laid out with tiny silver cutlery.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Its platform called for the free coinage of silver and plenty of paper money.’
    • ‘British imports of tea were steadily increasing during the early nineteenth century, and the Chinese would accept only specie, usually silver, in payment.’
    • ‘The manager of the shop arrived to find the lock smashed, and the money, all silver and coppers, all gone.’
    coins, coinage, specie
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    1. 4.1Scottish Money.
      • ‘He had lent him some silver to pay his seamstress's bill. -’
      cash, hard cash, ready money
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  • 5

    short for silver medal
    • ‘This is the eighth time they have made the Olympic semi-finals and they have a respectable haul of three silvers and three bronzes.’
    • ‘Todate he has participated in six international events and has won himself a gold medal and three silvers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Great Britain have won nine gold medals, 10 silvers and six bronze.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Four years after that, Bode Miller's two silvers, in giant slalom and combined, were the only U.S. medals.’
    • ‘Taiwan grabbed two gold medals, two silvers and one bronze at the Athens Olympics.’
    • ‘The U.S. had 14 gold, 10 silver and 6 bronze medals, while the Jamaicans achieved 2 gold medals and three silvers.’
    • ‘Now 35, this is his last chance of adding a gold to his two Olympic silvers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Poland and Hungary each earned two golds, one silver, and one bronze.’
    • ‘China had won a total of 11 medals, with three silvers and two bronze, while Australia have won nine.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Pool playing reached a frenzy after the 1998 Asian games, when the Chinese Taipei team won three gold medals, two silvers and a bronze.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The senior and junior Welsh teams exceeded all expectations by collecting eight gold medals, 15 silvers and seven bronzes at the Culinary World Cup.’
    • ‘It has eight gold medals, 14 silvers and 19 bronzes.’
    silver medal, second prize
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  • [attributive] Denoting a twenty-fifth anniversary.

    • ‘In honor of the Opera’s Silver Anniversary, we are asking all opera lovers to make a special gift of just $25.’


  • 1 Coat or plate with silver.

    ‘large silvered candlesticks’
    • ‘Also in the Metropolitan Museum is a silvered and patinated copper jardiniere designed by Reiber for Christofle.’
    • ‘The first examples had painted wood or engraved and silvered dials similar to those of long case clocks.’
    • ‘It was a small shiny object, a ‘roundel’, which caught my eye because its surface was silvered or tinned.’
    • ‘Some late 17th century and early 18th century brass and copper pieces of high quality were originally silvered.’
    • ‘The designer's simple but effective set has an Egyptian court, denoted by familiar golden iconography, standing opposite silvered pillars of Rome.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The idol is silvered with the electrolytic process.’
    plate with silver, coat with silver, overlay with silver, laminate with silver, back with silver
    plate, electroplate
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    1. 1.1Provide (mirror glass) with a backing of a silver-colored material in order to make it reflective.
      • ‘Silvered mirrors, and marble vases with gold inlay are displayed in a corner.’
      • ‘I leaned forward, so close to the silvered glass that my breath misted it slightly, partially obscuring my twin's mouth and nose.’
      • ‘The ball itself was modelled with a silvered glass sphere of the correct diameter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One drawing on a silvered mirror panel presents an axonometric rendering of a cubic form extending outward from the central image along parallel lines.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Optical interferometry is a technique that splits a laser beam into two beams by using a partially silvered mirror.’
      • ‘Onto this rubber membrane we attached a tiny piece of silvered glass, which acted as a mirror.’
      • ‘‘I've always liked mirrors,’ Lyra mused, turning this way and that as she studied her reflection in the silvered glass.’
      • ‘Thus, it seems that mirror glass was silvered not only at glassworks but at looking-glass makers' shops as well.’
      • ‘A block of glass is silvered over the upper portion of the face closest to the laser beam.’
      • ‘Alternatively, silvered glass could be substituted for transparent glass.’
      • ‘Yet Stork determined the probable focal length of a concave mirror made by inverting and silvering the convex mirror shown in the painting.’
      • ‘He shaved quickly, using his dagger and a piece of silvered glass for a mirror, then dressed in clean clothes from his blanket roll.’
    2. 1.2literary (especially of the moon) give a silvery appearance to.
      ‘the brilliant moon silvered the turf’
      • ‘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 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 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. 1.3Turn (a person's hair) gray or white.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her fur and long hair were silvered, but it did not give her the appearance of being old.’
      • ‘He turned his head to look at her face, her green eyes sparkling in the moonlight, her hair silvered by it.’
    4. 1.4[no object](of a person's hair) turn gray or white.
      • ‘His hair was long, dark and thick with waves, silvering where it touched his scalp.’
      • ‘Pale blond hair that was wispy and starting to silver with her age loosely framed her face.’
      • ‘The older man looked to be in his early fifties, with dark brown hair beginning to silver at the temples, and dark chestnut eyes.’
      • ‘He looked almost like her brother, tall, and moderately muscled, with black hair, silvering at the temples.’
      • ‘A handsome man with a large head and a shock of dark hair, slightly silvered, he was about to surprise his audience.’
      • ‘At nearly 71 the red hair has silvered, but she is far from retired.’


  • be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth

    • see born
      • ‘Although he is descended from Russian aristocracy, he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.’
      • ‘You thought I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, is that right?’
      • ‘I never lived in a block of flats, but I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth either.’
      • ‘It is always being said that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but that's not the case.’
      • ‘So if you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, tell people.’
      • ‘You on the other hand must have been born with a silver spoon in your mouth.’
      • ‘He is American with a fresh faced, ‘well scrubbed’ look about him but was certainly not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.’
      • ‘So what is it like to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth?’
      • ‘They think that we're born with a silver spoon in our mouth.’
      • ‘I presume that for most people - those who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth - there was a time when they were poor.’
  • every cloud has a silver lining

    • Every difficult or sad situation has a comforting or more hopeful aspect even though this may not be immediately apparent.

      • ‘The sharp movement didn't make me physically tired, which shows that every cloud has a silver lining.’
      • ‘All in all it's a bit of a mess but they say every cloud has a silver lining.’
      • ‘I tried to tell him to think of the good times, that every cloud has a silver lining.’
      • ‘But, every cloud has a silver lining (for me anyway).’
      • ‘In a case of every cloud has a silver lining, Bernard had injured his knee and the other soldiers continued on their journey, only to be ambushed.’
      • ‘Well, here's the news that proves the maxim every cloud has a silver lining.’
      • ‘It seems that if you're big, rich and powerful enough, every cloud has a silver lining.’
      • ‘But hey, it's not all bad, every cloud has a silver lining!’
      • ‘But every cloud has a silver lining, and my memories of 1956 are generally fond.’
      • ‘To the economy, and every cloud has a silver lining, they say, but in the dismal science, as they call economics, the opposite is often true.’
  • the silver screen

    • The movie industry; movies collectively.

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


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