early 15c., pictur, pictoure, pittour, pectur, "the process or art of drawing or painting," a sense now obsolete; also "a visual or graphic representation of a person, scene, object, etc.," from Latin pictura "painting," from pictus, past participle of pingere "to make pictures, to paint, to embroider," (see paint (v.)).
Picture window is from 1938. Picture post-card is recorded from 1899. Picture-book, "book illustrated with pictures or consisting mostly of pictures," especially one for children, is by 1847. Picture-frame "more or less ornamental border put around a picture to protect it" is from 1660s.
The phrase every picture tells a story is attested from 1900, in advertisements for an illustrated life of Christ. To be in (or out of) the picture in the figurative sense dates to 1900.
The expression a picture is worth a thousand words, attested from 1918, probably originated in the publication trade (the notion that a picture was worth 1,000 words is in printers' publications by 1911). The phrase was used in the form worth a million words by American newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936) in an editorial much-read c. 1916 titled "What is a Good Newspaper" in the "New York Evening Journal." In part it read: "After news and humor come good pictures. In this day of hurry we learn through the eye, and one picture may be worth a million words."
The phrase seems to have emerged into general use via the medium of advertising (which scaled down the number and also gave the expression its spurious origin story as "a Japanese proverb" or some such thing, by 1919). Earlier various acts or deeds (and in one case "the arrow") were said to be worth a thousand words.
c. 1500, "without speech, not speaking," from Latin silentem (nominative silens) "still, calm, quiet," present participle of silere "be quiet or still" (see silence (n.)). The meaning "free from noise or sound" is from 1580s.
Of letters in a word, "not sounded or pronounced," c. 1600. In the looser sense of "of few words," by 1840. In reference to films without recorded sound, 1914.
The phrase strong, silent (type) is attested from 1905. Silent majority in the political sense of "mass of people whose moderate views are not publicly expressed and thus overlooked" is first attested 1955 in a British context and was used by John F. Kennedy but is most associated in U.S. with the rhetoric of the Nixon administration (1969-74).
It is time for America's silent majority to stand up for its rights, and let us remember the American majority includes every minority. America's silent majority is bewildered by irrational protest. [Spiro T. Agnew, May 9, 1969]
In Victorian use, the phrase meant "the dead" (by 1874; compare Roman use of the noun plural of "silent" to mean "the dead"). In one 14c. text, the Latin phrase meaning "one who is silent" is translated by a beere stille.
"depict or represent pictorially," late 15c. in the literal sense; 1738 in the mental sense of "form an image of in the mind;" from picture (n.). Related: Pictured; picturing.
c. 1200, "a calm," from still (adj.). Sense of "quietness, the silent part" is from c. 1600 (in still of the night). Meaning "a photograph" (as distinguished from a motion picture) is attested from 1916.
1690s, "a picturesque or graphic description or picture," from French tableau "picture, painting" (12c.), from Old French table "slab, writing tablet" (see table (n.)) + diminutive suffix -eau, from Latin -ellus. Hence tableau-vivant (1817) "person or persons silent and motionless, enacting a well-known scene, incident, painting, etc.," 19c. parlor game, literally "living picture."
"speechless, silent," from Yiddish, from German stumm "silent, mute" (see stammer (v.)).
mid-15c., from Old French taciturnité, from Latin taciturnitatem (nominative taciturnitas) "a being or keeping silent," from taciturnus "disposed to be silent," from tacitus "silent" (see tacit).
c. 1600, "silent, unspoken," from French tacite and directly from Latin tacitus "that is passed over in silence, done without words, assumed as a matter of course, silent," past participle of tacere "be silent, not speak," from suffixed form of PIE root *tak- "to be silent" (source also of Gothic þahan, Old Norse þegja "to be silent," Old Norse þagna "to grow dumb," Old Saxon thagian, Old High German dagen "to be silent"). The musical instruction tacet is the 3rd person present singular of the Latin verb. Related: Tacitly.