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silence


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Silence is a woman's best garment proverbial saying, mid 16th century; often used as recommending a traditionally submissive and discreet role for women. In earlier references, Sophocles in Ajax has ‘silence is a woman's best ornament’, and 1 Corinthians 14:34 reads, ‘Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted to them to speak’.

silence is golden proverbial saying, mid 19th century; a general warning against unwise or hasty speech, an abbreviated form of the earlier speech is silver, but silence is golden.

silence means consent proverbial saying, late 14th century; translation of a Latin tag, ‘qui tacet consentire videtur [he who is silent seems to consent]’, said to have been spoken by Thomas More (1478–1535) when asked at his trial why he was silent on being asked to acknowledge the king's supremacy over the Church. The principle is not accepted in modern English law.

See also tower of silence, two-minute silence.


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