silver [sil-ver] Word Origin noun

  1. Chemistry. a white, ductile metallic element, used for making mirrors, coins, ornaments, table utensils, photographic chemicals, conductors, etc. Symbol: Ag; atomic weight: 107.870; atomic number: 47; specific gravity: 10.5 at 20°C.
  2. coin made of this metal; specie; money: a handful of silver.
  3. this metal as a commodity or considered as a currency standard.
  4. table articles made of or plated with silver, including flatware and hollowware.
  5. any flatware: The kitchen silver is of stainless steel.
  6. something resembling this metal in color, luster, etc.
  7. a lustrous grayish white or whitish gray, or the color of the metal: the silver of the leaves.
  8. any of the silver halides used for photographic purposes, as silver bromide, silver chloride, or silver iodide.
  9. silver medal.


  1. consisting of, made of, or plated with silver.
  2. of or relating to silver.
  3. producing or yielding silver.
  4. resembling silver; silvery: the silver moon.
  5. clear and soft: silver sounds.
  6. eloquent; persuasive: a silver tongue.
  7. urging the use of silver as a currency standard: silver economists.
  8. indicating the twenty-fifth event of a series, as a wedding anniversary.
  9. having the color silver: a silver dress.

verb (used with object)

  1. to coat with silver or some silverlike substance.
  2. to give a silvery color to.

verb (used without object)

  1. to become a silvery color.

Origin of silver before 900; (noun and adj.) Middle English silver(e), selver(e), selfer, Old English siolfor (orig. noun); cognate with German Silber, Old Norse silfr, Gothic silubr, akin to Serbo-Croatian srèbro, Russian serebró, Lithuanian sidãbras; (v.) late Middle English silveren, derivative of the nounRelated formssil·ver·er, nounsil·ver·ish, adjectivesil·ver·less, adjectivesil·ver·like, adjectivesil·ver·ness, nounnon·sil·ver, noun, adjectivere·sil·ver, verb (used with object) British Dictionary definitions for silverlike silver noun

    1. a very ductile malleable brilliant greyish-white element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. It occurs free and in argentite and other ores: used in jewellery, tableware, coinage, electrical contacts, and in electroplating. Its compounds are used in photography. Symbol: Ag; atomic no: 47; atomic wt: 107.8682; valency: 1 or 2; relative density: 10.50; melting pt: 961.93°C; boiling pt: 2163°C
    2. (as modifier)a silver coin Related adjective: argent
  1. coin made of, or having the appearance of, this metal
  2. cutlery, whether made of silver or not
  3. any household articles made of silver
  4. photog any of a number of silver compounds used either as photosensitive substances in emulsions or as sensitizers
    1. a brilliant or light greyish-white colour
    2. (as adjective)silver hair
  5. short for silver medal


  1. well-articulatedsilver speech
  2. (prenominal) denoting the 25th in a series, esp an annual seriesa silver wedding anniversary


  1. (tr) to coat with silver or a silvery substanceto silver a spoon
  2. to become or cause to become silvery in colour
  3. to become or cause to become elderly

Derived Formssilverer, nounsilvering, nounWord Origin for silver Old English siolfor; related to Old Norse silfr, Gothic silubr, Old High German silabar, Old Slavonic sirebro Word Origin and History for silverlike silver n.

Old English seolfor, Mercian sylfur “silver; money,” from Proto-Germanic *silubra- (cf. Old Saxon silvbar, Old Frisian selover, Old Norse silfr, Middle Dutch silver, Dutch zilver, Old High German silabar, German silber “silver; money,” Gothic silubr “silver”), from a common Germanic/Balto-Slavic term (cf. Old Church Slavonic s(u)rebo, Russian serebro, Polish srebro, Lithuanian sidabras “silver”) of uncertain relationship and origin. According to Klein’s sources, possibly from a language of Asia Minor, perhaps from Akkadian sarpu “silver,” literally “refined silver,” related to sarapu “to refine, smelt.”

As an adjective from late Old English (cf. silvern). As a color name from late 15c. Of voices, words, etc., from 1520s in reference to the metal’s pleasing resonance; silver-tongued is from 1590s. The silver age (1560s) was a phrase used by Greek and Roman poets. Chemical abbreviation Ag is from Latin argentum “silver,” from the usual PIE word for the metal (see argent), which is missing in Germanic.

silver v.

“to cover or plate with silver,” mid-15c., from silver (n.). Meaning “to tinge with gray” (of hair) is from c.1600. Related: Silvered; silvering.

silverlike in Medicine silver [sĭl′vər] n. Symbol Ag

  1. A lustrous ductile malleable metallic element having the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of the metals and used in dental alloys and in pharmaceuticals. Atomic number 47.

silverlike in Science silver [sĭl′vər] Ag

  1. A soft, shiny, white metallic element that is found in many ores, especially together with copper, lead, and zinc. It conducts heat and electricity better than any other metal. Silver is used in photography and in making electrical circuits and conductors. Atomic number 47; atomic weight 107.868; melting point 960.8°C; boiling point 2,212°C; specific gravity 10.50; valence 1, 2. See also sterling silver. See Periodic Table. See Note at element.

Idioms and Phrases with silverlike silver

In addition to the idiom beginning with silver

  • silver lining
  • also see:

  • born with a silver spoon
  • cross someone’s palm with silver
  • hand to on a silver platter
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