If I said
I silenced him during our online conversation
I muted the television
what would I use to indicate the reverse event occurred? I've seen unmute used in various contexts, but it's not a real word.
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For televisions and similar appliances unmute is an acceptable word that is in common usage.
For silence meaning subdue I would choose encourage as an antonym .
Oh, there won't be a special word. So many people watch tv with others, there's only one remote. We'd all be using it if there was such a word.
reinstate is a single-word that could sometimes be used.
In the context of the tv scenario, I'd just say put it back, or turn the sound back on, or something. I certainly wouldn't unmute it.
First of all: Some dictionary not listing a word does not mean that it is "not a real word". There's no dictionary police waiting to come and get you once you use it. (Or is there?)
Prefixing stuff (yep, verbs, nouns, adjectives, you name it) with un- appears to be very productive in English. Hence, "unmute" is a good candidate. Even "unsilence" should work.
After all, you'd need to (methodically) ask a lot of (different) native speakers to find out whether any of those two is marked. Otherwise, any descent online dictionary should provide you with one or more cross-referenced antonyms for "to mute" or "to silence".
Microsoft uses "unmute" in their Skype documentation:
"Undo" is not common in the world of professional sound control, except perhaps in the relatively recent domain of computerized music. For decades it was often heard in professional audio circles to "UNMUTE" a channel, following the muting of mixing console channel. I wholeheartedly believe it to be the perfect word to reverse "mute".