Silence is Golden Examples
If someone says to you, "silence is golden," they may be attempting to express one of the following:
1. Silence is a preferred state, as peace and quiet are necessary to calm the soul.
2. They may be trying to send a hint that they would prefer a little peace and quiet to the noise or speech they are currently experiencing.
3. They may be expressing the idea that silence, or a lack of voicing one's opinion, is often the more virtuous course of action.
The earliest origin of the idea that "silence is golden" can be traced to Thomas Carlyle's novel Sartor Resartus, and the use of idea would match number three-or that silence is virtuous. In the novel, he outlines the virtues of silence. He writes, "Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together, into the daylight of Life . . . Speech too is great, but not the greatest . . . 'Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity.'"
Carlyle expresses the idea that when we are silent, "great things fashion themselves together," or that silence leads to our best, most creative ideas or works. When someone says that "silence is golden," they are expressing the idea that silence is virtuous, or "of Eternity," and that good things are often the result when we hold our tongue.
In modern usage, the phrase "silence is golden" is still used to refer to the virtues of silence. Remaining silent when the inclination is to retort or argue is often considered virtuous-or taking the "high road." The phrase "silence is golden" is sometimes used to day when people just want some peace and quiet and they wish to encourage those around them to remain silent for a time.
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