views updated May 23 2018

silver a precious metal, in general use ranking next to gold, and valued for use in jewellery and other ornaments as well as formerly in coins. Silver is also a tincture in heraldry, but is more usually called argent. The word is recorded in Old English (in form seolfor), and is ultimately of Germanic origin.
silver age in classical Greek and Roman literature, the second age of the world, inferior to the simplicity and happiness of the first or golden age; in general use, a period regarded as notable but inferior to a golden age, such as that of so-called silver Latin literature.
silver bullet a simple and seemingly magical solution to a complicated problem, from the traditional belief that only a bullet made of silver could kill a werewolf.
silver cord used in biblical allusion to Ecclesiastes 12:6 to indicate the dissolution of life.
silver-fork designating a school of novelists of about 1830 distinguished by an affectation of gentility.
Silver Latin literary Latin from the death of Augustus (ad 14) to the mid second century.
silver screen the cinema; originally, a cinematographic projection screen covered with metallic paint to produce a highly reflective silver-coloured surface; the term is recorded from the 1920s.
Silver Star a decoration for gallantry awarded to members of the US Army and Navy.
Silver State an informal name for Nevada, referring to its silver mines.
Silver Stick in the UK, (the bearer of) a silver-tipped rod borne on State occasions by a particular officer of the Life Guards or their successors the Household Cavalry Regiment.
silver wedding the twenty-fifth anniversary of a wedding.

See also born with a silver spoon in one's mouth, every cloud has a silver lining, cross someone's palm with silver at cross3, selling off the family silver, thirty pieces of silver.