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Silence Tropes

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These are tropes about silence.

They can be related to both the techniques creators use to incorporate a lack of sound into their works, as well as in-universe examples of characters, objects, places and events that create, seek out, or maintain an absence of sound.


  • "Awkward Silence" Entrance
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge: Hitting someone you're next to as a gesture that they must shut up right now.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": A character yells something along the lines of "SHUT UP!", "QUIET!", "ZIP IT!", etc.
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  • Chirping Crickets: Cricket chirps are heard to emphasize the dead silence in response to a character telling a bad joke or saying something that would warrant shocked stares.
  • Cute Mute: A character who can't talk, and that's played as cute.
  • Dead Air: Silence in a radio show.
  • Dramatic Ellipsis: A Dramatic Pause is rendered with an ellipsis.
  • Dumb Struck: Someone who can't talk due to emotional trauma. The medical term for this is selective mutism.
  • Elective Mute: It turns out that a character assumed to be unable to talk actually can speak, they just choose to be silent most of the time.
  • Enemy Mime: A villainous mime.
  • Everyone Hates Mimes: Mimes have bad luck.
  • Facial Dialogue: Using facial expressions to communicate.
  • Filling the Silence: When it logically should be quiet, but sound or dialogue is added in to fill in the silence.
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  • Heroic Mime: A hero who never speaks.
  • He Who Must Not Be Heard: A character who either doesn't talk or only speaks gibberish.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: When it's quiet, that's a bad sign.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Silencers for guns make firing the gun inaudible and are readily available with the guns.
  • Meaningful Look: A character doesn't say anything because their expression says it all.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: A cartoon with sound effects and background music, but no dialogue.
  • Moment of Silence: When a character dies, characters stop talking and no sound plays except for background music.
  • Mouth of Sauron: Somebody who's never seen or heard has an employee who talks for them.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: An episode in which nobody speaks.
  • Noisy Shut-Up: Making a loud noise in attempt to silence somebody.
  • Non-Verbal Miscommunication: A misunderstanding happens from attempting to communicate with gestures and sign language.
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  • Nothing Is Scarier: An absence of something (which could be sound), Played for Horror.
  • Pillow Silencer: Covering someone's face with a pillow and then shooting them through it.
  • The Pre Hollywood Era: A Useful Notes page for the time when American movies existed, but they weren't being made in Hollywood (which existed but was only a small village) yet.
  • The Quiet Game: Trying to make a kid or a chatty person be quiet by making it into a game.
  • The Quiet One: A character who does speak, but not as much as the other characters.
  • Quieter Than Silence: A visual or background noise is added to let the viewers know that it's supposed to be quiet and not just (for instance) a glitchy screen.
  • Reality Has No Soundtrack: A movie aims to be more realistic by not using a soundtrack.
  • Seven Minute Lull: At a party, someone will either say something rude and/or strange, resulting in everyone going quiet, or they'll speak louder than some music which is playing, resulting in the music stopping.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: Silence (possibly with the exception of a high-pitched hum) plays after an explosion.
  • Silence Is Golden: A work that, despite being made after the silent era, has no dialogue.
  • Silence of Sadness: Someone talks less or doesn't talk because they're sad.
  • Silence, You Fool!: A boss yells at their underlings to be quiet.
  • Silent Antagonist: A villain who never speaks.
  • The Silent Bob: A character doesn't talk, but has no difficulty in making others understand them.
  • Silent Conversation: Two characters are talking, but we, the viewers, can't hear them.
  • Silent Credits: The ending credits have no music.
  • Silent Movie: A film without dialogue.
  • Silent Partner: Someone is paired up with a character who doesn't talk.
  • Silent Scapegoat: Somebody who willingly takes the blame for everyone else's wrongdoings.
  • Silent Snarker: A character who can't talk, but frequently makes snide gestures.
  • Silent Treatment: Punishing somebody by not talking to them.
  • The Singing Mute: A character is established as incapable of speech, but that doesn't prevent them from participating in musical numbers somehow.
  • The Speechless: A character who doesn't speak because they are unable to.
  • Spooky Silent Library: A creepy library with no noise and little to no people.
  • Stunned Silence: Someone who's rendered speechless by shock (said shock could be good or bad).
  • Sudden Soundtrack Stop: When the background music goes silent.
  • Suddenly Speaking: A character who was initially silent eventually reveals that they can speak after all.
  • Talking with Signs: A character communicates using signs rather than by speaking.
  • Visible Silence: A character who isn't talking has a speech bubble with either an exclamation mark (to show they're surprised), a question mark (to show they're confused) or an ellipsis (neutral).
  • Voice for the Voiceless: A character who speaks for an inanimate object, or someone who can't talk.
  • The Voiceless: A character isn't shown speaking, but might still be capable of speech.
  • World of Silence: A world with no free will is silent.
  • Your Mime Makes It Real: When a character mimes something happening, the thing somehow actually happens.

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Alternative Title(s): Quiet Tropes, Speechless Tropes, Silent Tropes

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