from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sedimentary material consisting of very fine particles intermediate in size between sand and clay.
  • intransitive v. To become filled with silt: an old channel that silted up.
  • transitive v. To fill, cover, or obstruct with silt: River sediments gradually silted the harbor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Mud or fine earth deposited from running or standing water.
  • n. Material with similar physical characteristics, whatever its origins or transport.
  • n. A particle from 3.9 to 62.5 microns in diameter, following the Wentworth scale
  • v. To clog or fill with silt.
  • v. To become clogged with silt.
  • v. To flow through crevices; to percolate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Mud or fine earth deposited from running or standing water.
  • intransitive v. To flow through crevices; to percolate.
  • transitive v. To choke, fill, or obstruct with silt or mud.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To choke, fill, or obstruct with silt or mud: commonly with up.
  • To percolate through crevices; ooze, as water carrying fine sediment.
  • To become obstructed or choked with silt or sediment: with up.
  • n. A deposit of mud or fine soil from running or standing water; fine earthy sediment: as, a harbor choked up with silt.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. become chocked with silt
  • n. mud or clay or small rocks deposited by a river or lake


Middle English cylte, probably of Scandinavian origin; see sal- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English cylte, cognate with Norwegian and Danish sylt ("salt marsh") and Old English sealt ("salt") (Wiktionary)


  • When we first set up shop in a dusty film studio in Giza, which is the town next to Cairo, I found Dr. Sala on the back lot, aging some of our sets with silt from the Nile.

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  • You have loam and we have river bed sand and decomposed granite and perhaps silt from the river.

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  • On Mars, NASA's robot rover Spirit is spinning its wheels on the soft shoulder of planetary exploration, up to its axles in silt millions of miles away from tense engineers who are struggling to extricate it by remote control.

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  • Because the depth is always just slightly over your head you never get into areas where someone has stirred up a bunch of silt from the bottom.

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  • The silt from the estuary had suddenly given way to the deep blue of the sea.

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  • So I can actually bury huges parts of Egypt in silt if I need to.

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  • But I do want to enter a modest plea for the strange and wonderful, the subversive gold dust you find in silt, online or off.

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  • Water with lots of mineral deposits and silt is not good for you cooling system.

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  • Over the centuries it has been filled in by silt from the rivers of the western plains.

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  • The levee system shotguns the silt from the Mississippi deep into the Gulf, preventing it from flowing westward so it can rebuild the coastline.

    September 2005


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  • to love life, to love it
    even when you have no stomach for it
    and everything you've held dear
    crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
    your throat filled with the silt of it.

    - Ellen Bass, untitled poem.

    September 7, 2009

  • Is defined by the Udden-Wentworth scale as having a particle size of 3.90625–62.5 micrometres (0.00015–0.0025 inches)

    February 26, 2007