“Qui tacet consentire videtur” is a Latin phrase the law translates into:  “Silence equals consent.”

Qui tacet consentire videtur — is a dangerous phrase because it protects the powerful and suffers the weak.

“Say nothing and I’ll know what to do!” How many empires have been lost in the unspoken, but direct, acquiescence to horror?

Silence also equals abuse.  “She never said ‘no’!” takes on a whole new wringing and rhythm under the “qui tacet consentire videtur” definition. 

The lesson in qui tacet consentire videtur is to never remain unspoken.

Define yourself with words.

Communicate your wishes and hopes and defiance with sentences and utterances.

Silence does equal death — and that death comes in many forms and shapes and the one pressing qui tacet consentire videtur into you is not your friend or your protector.

That person is your persecutor.


  1. Happened during the war, David. If you aren’t with us you’re against us. If you’re against the war you’re against the soldiers. No flag pin means you’re saying your anti-America. All accusations by inferring silence or pushing it on someone.

  2. You’re certainly right about that, Katha. I love the Sanskrit proverb!
    Is silence ambiguous? I think silence allows other people to imprint their desires in your silence — and that’s the lesson of the danger of saying nothing.

  3. Hi David,
    Right, the reason I said silence was ambiguous because it would work “against” the person who was silent, would work “for” the other who interpreted the silence the way they want and there was also a third party who would be “confused” because of this.
    Makes sense?

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