You're in the gym waiting for the school principal to make a speech and everyone is talking, the whole place humming loudly. Suddenly it goes quiet because you all thought the principal has arrived, yet no one told you to be silent. Everybody else notices the others being quite and follows suit. Everyone is silent for a moment, but after they realize no one arrived and no one is enforcing the silence, the noise starts again. This has happened to me in classrooms and at seminars.

  • there was a sudden hush
    – user339660
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 14:50
  • In OP's specific context, a premature hush (a "false alarm", or "false start", but idiomatically there's no such thing as a "false stop"). Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 15:02

2 Answers 2


lull - a temporary calm, quiet, or stillness

  • A lull sounds more like a coincidental break in conversation.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 4:41

The air left the room

... is a metaphor often used to describe the sudden quiet when everybody's attention is drawn to someone or something. It sounds like you are describing the same kind of quiet, even though the someone is only imagined.

For example:

The air left the room for a moment, until we realized that the principal had not, in fact, arrived.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.