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Silent vs. Still: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 29, 2023
Silent implies the absence of sound or noise, while still refers to the absence of motion or activity.
Silent vs. Still

Key Differences

Silent primarily refers to the absence or lack of sound. It's often used to describe situations, environments, or individuals that are not making noise. In a library, for example, one is expected to be silent. Still, in contrast, denotes a state of motionlessness or lack of movement. It can apply to objects, people, or scenes. A photograph captures a moment in time, making everything appear still.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023
In film or literature, a character described as silent might not speak or could be in a quiet environment. This can convey mystery, contemplation, or isolation. Stillness, on the other hand, can be used to describe a scene or setting that is calm, unmoving, or undisturbed, often creating a sense of peace or tension.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023
Silence can also be metaphorical, referring to the absence of communication or expression, like the silence of a government on a pressing issue. Stillness can similarly be metaphorical but tends to focus on the lack of change or progress, such as the stillness of life in a stagnant town.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023
Technologically, silent modes on devices indicate they will operate without making noise, useful in settings where noise is disruptive. Still is used in photography and cinematography to describe a single, motionless image, as opposed to a moving sequence.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023
Silent can have a negative connotation in contexts where speaking out is expected or valued, like being silent on social issues. Still can imply steadiness or stability, but it might also suggest stagnation or lack of progress in certain contexts, like a still economy.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

Absence of sound or noise.
Absence of movement or activity.
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Dec 29, 2023

Usage in Arts

Silent films, characters not speaking.
Still life in painting, motionless scenes.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Metaphorical Use

Lack of communication or expression.
Lack of change or progress.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Technological Context

Silent mode on devices.
Still images in photography or cinematography.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Connotation

Can be negative when silence is inappropriate.
Can suggest stability or stagnation.
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Dec 29, 2023
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Silent and Still Definitions

Silent

Refraining from speech or temporarily speechless.
She remained silent during the heated debate.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Still

In photography, a single, motionless image.
The movie's stills were displayed in the gallery.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Silent

Not spoken; implied or understood without being stated.
His silent approval was evident through his nod.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Still

Not moving or in motion
The patient must be still for the doctor to work.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Silent

(In film) having no accompanying soundtrack.
The era of silent movies captivated audiences with visual storytelling.
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Still

Free from disturbance, agitation, or commotion
The still waters of the lake.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Silent

Marked by absence of noise or sound; still
The silent forest.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

Of or relating to a single or static photograph as opposed to a movie.
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Silent

Not inclined to speak; not talkative
He's the strong, silent type.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

Making or characterized by no sound or faint sound
The crowd cheered and then grew still.
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Oct 19, 2023

Silent

Not speaking or refraining from speech
Do be silent.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

Not carbonated; lacking effervescence
A still wine.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Silent

Not saying anything about a particular matter; making no mention
The poem is silent on the reason for the speaker's sadness.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

Silence; quiet
The still of the night.
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Silent

Not voiced or expressed; unspoken
A silent curse.
Silent consent.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Still

A still photograph, especially one taken from a scene of a movie and used for promotional purposes.
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Oct 19, 2023

Silent

Having no spoken dialogue and usually no soundtrack. Used of a film.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

A still-life picture.
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Oct 19, 2023

Silent

(Linguistics) Having no phonetic value; unpronounced
The silent b in subtle.
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Still

An apparatus for distilling liquids, such as alcohols, consisting of a vessel in which the substance is vaporized by heat and a cooling device in which the vapor is condensed.
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Silent

Inactive; quiescent
A silent volcano.
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Still

A distillery.
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Silent

Producing no detectable signs or symptoms
A silent heart attack.
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Still

Without movement; motionlessly
Stand still.
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Oct 19, 2023

Silent

A silent movie.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

At the present time; for the present
We are still waiting.
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Oct 19, 2023

Silent

Free from sound or noise; absolutely still; perfectly quiet.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

Up to or at a specified time; yet
Still had not made up her mind.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Silent

Not speaking; indisposed to talk; speechless; mute; taciturn; not loquacious; not talkative.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

At a future time; eventually
May still see the error of his ways.
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Oct 19, 2023

Silent

Keeping at rest; inactive; calm; undisturbed.
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Still

In increasing amount or degree; even
And still further complaints.
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Silent

(pronunciation) Not pronounced; having no sound; quiescent.
The e is silent in fable.
Silent letters can make some words difficult to spell.
The “l” in the English word "salmon" is silent.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

In addition; besides
Had still another helping.
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Silent

Having no effect; not operating; inefficient.
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Still

All the same; nevertheless.
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Silent

(technology) With the sound turned off; usually on silent or in silent mode.
My phone was on silent.
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Still

To make motionless or unagitated
The afternoon heat stilled the breeze.
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Silent

(technology) Without audio capability.
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Still

To make quiet; silence
"a ... cold wind that stilled even the chorus of insects" (David Campbell).
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Silent

Hidden, unseen.
A silent voter; a silent partner
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Still

To allay or calm
The parents stilled their child's fears of the dark.
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Oct 19, 2023

Silent

Of an edit or change to a text, not explicitly acknowledged.
Silent revisions; a silent emendation
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Still

To become still.
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Silent

(genetics) Not implying significant modifications which would affect a peptide sequence.
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Still

Not moving; calm.
Sit there and stay still!
Still waters run deep.
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Oct 19, 2023

Silent

Undiagnosed or undetected because of an absence of symptoms.
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Still

Not effervescing; not sparkling.
Still water; still wines
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Silent

Of distilled spirit: having no flavour or odour.
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Still

Uttering no sound; silent.
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Silent

(uncountable) That which is silent; a time of silence.
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Still

(not comparable) Having the same stated quality continuously from a past time
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Silent

A silent movie
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Still

Comparatively quiet or silent; soft; gentle; low.
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Silent

Free from sound or noise; absolutely still; perfectly quiet.
How silent is this town!
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Still

(obsolete) Constant; continual.
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Silent

Not speaking; indisposed to talk; speechless; mute; taciturn; not loquacious; not talkative.
Ulysses, adds he, was the most eloquent and most silent of men.
This new-created world, whereof in hellFame is not silent.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

Without motion.
They stood still until the guard was out of sight.
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Silent

Keeping at rest; inactive; calm; undisturbed; as, the wind is silent.
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Still

(aspect) Up to a time, as in the preceding time.
Is it still raining?
It was still raining five minutes ago.
We've seen most of the sights, but we are still visiting the museum.
I’m still not wise enough to answer that.
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Silent

Not pronounced; having no sound; quiescent; as, e is silent in "fable."
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Still

(degree) To an even greater degree. Used to modify comparative adjectives or adverbs.
Tom is tall; Dick is taller; Harry is still taller / Harry is taller still.
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Silent

Having no effect; not operating; inefficient.
Cause . . . silent, virtueless, and dead.
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Still

(conjunctive) Nevertheless.
I’m not hungry, but I’ll still manage to find room for dessert.
Yeah, but still...
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Silent

That which is silent; a time of silence.
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Still

Always; invariably; constantly; continuously.
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Silent

Marked by absence of sound;
A silent house
Soundless footsteps on the grass
The night was still
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Still

(extensive) Even, yet.
Some dogs howl, more yelp, still more bark.
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Silent

Failing to speak or communicate etc when expected to;
The witness remained silent
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Still

A period of calm or silence.
The still of the night
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Oct 19, 2023

Silent

Indicated by necessary connotation though not expressed directly;
Gave silent consent
A tacit agreement
The understood provisos of a custody agreement
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

(photography) A photograph, as opposed to movie footage.
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Oct 19, 2023

Silent

Not made to sound;
The silent `h' at the beginning of `honor'
In French certain letters are often unsounded
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Still

(slang) A resident of the Falkland Islands.
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Silent

Having a frequency below or above the range of human audibility;
A silent dog whistle
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Still

A device for distilling liquids.
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Silent

Unable to speak because of hereditary deafness
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Still

(catering) A large water boiler used to make tea and coffee.
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Oct 19, 2023

Silent

Not making or accompanied by any sound.
The forest was eerily silent at night.
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Dec 29, 2023

Still

(catering) The area in a restaurant used to make tea and coffee, separate from the main kitchen.
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Silent

Not emitting or having a tendency to emit sound.
The silent alarm alerted only the security team.
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Dec 29, 2023

Still

A building where liquors are distilled; a distillery.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

To calm down, to quiet.
To still the raging sea
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Still

(obsolete) To trickle, drip.
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Still

To cause to fall by drops.
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Still

To expel spirit from by heat, or to evaporate and condense in a refrigeratory; to distill.
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Still

Motionless; at rest; quiet; as, to stand still; to lie or sit still.
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Still

Uttering no sound; silent; as, the audience is still; the animals are still.
The sea that roared at thy command,At thy command was still.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

Not disturbed by noise or agitation; quiet; calm; as, a still evening; a still atmosphere.
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Still

Comparatively quiet or silent; soft; gentle; low.
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Still

Constant; continual.
By still practice learn to know thy meaning.
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Still

Not effervescing; not sparkling; as, still wines.
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Still

Freedom from noise; calm; silence; as, the still of midnight.
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Still

A steep hill or ascent.
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Still

A vessel, boiler, or copper used in the distillation of liquids; specifically, one used for the distillation of alcoholic liquors; a retort. The name is sometimes applied to the whole apparatus used in in vaporization and condensation.
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Still

A house where liquors are distilled; a distillery.
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Still

To this time; until and during the time now present; now no less than before; yet.
It hath been anciently reported, and is still received.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

In the future as now and before.
Hourly joys be still upon you!
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Still

In continuation by successive or repeated acts; always; ever; constantly; uniformly.
The desire of fame betrays an ambitious man into indecencies that lessen his reputation; he is still afraid lest any of his actions should be thrown away in private.
Chemists would be rich if they could still do in great quantities what they have sometimes done in little.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

In an increasing or additional degree; even more; - much used with comparatives.
The guilt being great, the fear doth still exceed.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

Notwithstanding what has been said or done; in spite of what has occured; nevertheless; - sometimes used as a conjunction. See Synonym of But.
As sunshine, broken in the rill,Though turned astray, is sunshine still.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Still

After that; after what is stated.
In the primitive church, such as by fear being compelled to sacrifice to strange gods, after repented, and kept still the office of preaching the gospel.
And like the watchful minutes to the hour,Still and anon cheered up the heavy time.
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

To stop, as motion or agitation; to cause to become quiet, or comparatively quiet; to check the agitation of; as, to still the raging sea.
He having a full sway over the water, had power to still and compose it, as well as to move and disturb it.
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Still

To stop, as noise; to silence.
With his name the mothers still their babies.
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Still

To appease; to calm; to quiet, as tumult, agitation, or excitement; as, to still the passions.
Toil that would, at least, have stilled an unquiet impulse in me.
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Still

To cause to fall by drops.
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Still

To expel spirit from by heat, or to evaporate and condense in a refrigeratory; to distill.
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Still

To drop, or flow in drops; to distill.
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Still

A static photograph (especially one taken from a movie and used for advertising purposes);
He wanted some stills for a magazine ad
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Still

(poetic) tranquil silence;
The still of the night
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Still

An apparatus used for the distillation of liquids; consists of a vessel in which a substance is vaporized by heat and a condenser where the vapor is condensed
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Still

A plant and works where alcoholic drinks are made by distillation
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Still

Make calm or still;
Quiet the dragons of worry and fear
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Still

Cause to be quiet or not talk;
Please silence the children in the church!
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Still

Lessen the intensity of or calm;
The news eased my conscience
Still the fears
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Still

Make motionless
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Still

Not in physical motion;
The inertia of an object at rest
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Still

Marked by absence of sound;
A silent house
Soundless footsteps on the grass
The night was still
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Still

Free from disturbance;
A ribbon of sand between the angry sea and the placid bay
The quiet waters of a lagoon
A lake of tranquil blue water reflecting a tranquil blue sky
A smooth channel crossing
Scarcely a ripple on the still water
Unruffled water
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Still

Used of pictures; of a single or static photograph not presented so as to create the illusion of motion; or representing objects not capable of motion;
A still photograph
Cezanne's still life of apples
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Still

Not sparkling;
A still wine
Still mineral water
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Still

Free from noticeable current;
A still pond
Still waters run deep
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Still

With reference to action or condition; without change, interruption, or cessation;
It's still warm outside
Will you still love me when we're old and grey?
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

Despite anything to the contrary (usually following a concession);
Although I'm a little afraid, however I'd like to try it
While we disliked each other, nevertheless we agreed
He was a stern yet fair master
Granted that it is dangerous, all the same I still want to go
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

To a greater degree or extent; used with comparisons;
Looked sick and felt even worse
An even (or still) more interesting problem
Still another problem must be solved
A yet sadder tale
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Oct 19, 2023

Still

Without moving or making a sound;
He sat still as a statue
Time stood still
They waited stock-still outside the door
He couldn't hold still any longer
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Still

Not moving; stationary.
The cat was still, watching the birds intently.
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Still

Calm, tranquil, without turmoil or disturbance.
The lake was still in the early morning light.
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Still

Continuing until the present time; even now.
Years later, she still remembered her first day at school.
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Still

To make or become still; quieten.
He motioned with his hand to still the crowd.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What does still mean in the context of movement?

Without motion; stationary.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can still imply calmness?

Yes, it often denotes tranquility.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can silent refer to a person not speaking?

Yes, it can mean not talking or being speechless.
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Dec 29, 2023

Does silent have a negative connotation?

Sometimes, especially when speaking up is expected.
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Dec 29, 2023

What is a silent alarm?

An alarm that alerts without making noise.
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Dec 29, 2023

What is a still life painting?

Art depicting inanimate, motionless subjects.
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Dec 29, 2023

Can silence be metaphorical?

Yes, as in the absence of communication.
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Dec 29, 2023

What does silent mean?

Lacking sound or noise.
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Dec 29, 2023

Is still used in photography?

Yes, for a single, motionless picture.
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Dec 29, 2023

Are silent films without sound?

Yes, they have no spoken dialogue or soundtrack.
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Dec 29, 2023

Is silent often used in describing nature?

Yes, like a "silent forest."
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Dec 29, 2023

Is there a silent mode on devices?

Yes, where the device operates without sound.
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Dec 29, 2023

Does silent mean completely noiseless?

Typically, but it can also mean very quiet.
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Dec 29, 2023

Can still be a verb?

Yes, as in "to still the waters."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

What is the meaning of still in 'stand still'?

To remain motionless.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Does still have different meanings in different contexts?

Yes, it can mean calm, motionless, or continuous.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

How is still used in a sentence to mean yet?

"She is still working on the project."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can still be used to indicate continuity?

Yes, as in "still happening."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Does still mean unchanging?

In some contexts, it indicates no change or progress.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

Can silent refer to unexpressed feelings?

Yes, as in "silent admiration."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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