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Quiet is a word that at least traditionally has been very common for classrooms and libraries, especially while students are reading and thinking. Quiet is a flexible word that is useful as an adjective, noun, and verb. It can describe a lowered volume, like a hushed voice, but quiet can also refer to something that makes no sound at all, like silence.
Teachers often comment on the appropriate noise level of an activity. Sometimes students are asked to read part of a text aloud to a partner or to give an answer out loud. Perhaps more typically, teachers’ directions to students focus on decreasing rather than increasing the noise level. Students are told to read silently, or they are instructed to take a quiet time after lunch or recess. One common usage of quiet is as a command. A teacher may say to an overly boisterous class: “Quiet!”
Quiet is an Anglo-Norman and Middle French word for peace or tranquility. This word may have been based on the Latin quietus. The Spanish word for quiet differs in its meaning and usage. For example, the Spanish word for quiet in the phrase “a quiet day in the office” is tranquilo. In this case, tranquilo is also the Spanish cognate of tranquil. Quiet is an example of how words in different languages can have the same root, but slightly varying definitions and usages.