Jun 20, 2021
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The meaning of the proverb “The word is silver, silence is gold”

The meaning of the proverb

The proverb about gold and silver, obtained in the process of communication, is better known in its abbreviated version: “Silence is gold.” What is the value of silence?

Is it possible to become richer by learning to control words and not saying more than expected? Let’s find out.

Expression value

Expression “The word is silver, silence is gold” means that our words have a very high price and may be like a noble metal, but there is also a supreme treasure – silence.

It would seem that giving birth to words is more difficult than being silent. It is necessary to choose the most necessary, accurate phrases, take care of their expressiveness, brightness, intelligibility. This is real work! Then why is the absence of words placed higher than the words themselves?

The point is the situation. The art of eloquence presupposes the ability of a person to stop in time, to have a sense of proportion. A beautiful but drawn-out speech will not achieve the goal. Saying less is better. In addition, communication is an alternation of meanings and pauses, listening and speaking.

You can learn to speak competently and sonorously, but the art of clever silence is given only to a select few. This requires tact, education, wisdom.

In F. Tyutchev’s poem “Selenium”, silence is described as a gift from the wisest. So that dreams do not melt and faith does not dry out, it is better to hide them from prying ears and eyes. This is the only way to save yourself.

Putting aside philosophical reflections, the proverb can be understood as advice to speak less and listen more, to be restrained in speeches.

The origin of the phraseological unit

In many traditional societies, silence is perceived as a symbol of meekness and wisdom. So it was in Ancient Russia.

Moving away from the world, for the sake of humility of passions, the monks took upon themselves a vow of silence. Similar spiritual practice is familiar to other peoples as well.

When raising children, parents considered the ability to listen to their elders a mandatory virtue. This tradition is recorded, for example, in “Domostroy”. Talkativeness was perceived as a sign of frivolity, frivolity, and laziness.

Deed was opposed to the word. Silence, on the other hand, was considered a positive quality. She spoke about the seriousness of a person, his restraint, respect for his neighbors.

It remains only to marvel at the wisdom of our ancestors. Today, unfortunately, we rarely appreciate those who behave modestly, thoughtfully and attentively listen to their interlocutors. Words lose their value, wear out, cease to mean anything.


Among the many proverbs about the value of silence, there are some of the most expressive:

  • A kind silence is better than a thin grumbling;
  • Silence is better than idle chatting;
  • Silently keep silent – as you sit in the garden;
  • Silence is a golden word.

Concluding the ode to silence, it should be noted that, like any phenomenon, there is a downside to silence. But we’ll talk about her some other time.

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