\ ˈdim How to pronounce dim (audio) \
dimmer; dimmest

Definition of dim

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : emitting or having a limited or insufficient amount of light dim stars a dim lamp a dim hallway
b : dull, lusterless dim colors
c : lacking pronounced, clear-cut, or vigorous quality or character a dim echo of the past
2a : seen indistinctly a dim outline
b : perceived by the senses or mind indistinctly or weakly : faint had only a dim notion of what was going on
c : having little prospect of favorable result or outcome a dim future
d : characterized by an unfavorable, skeptical, or pessimistic attitude usually used in the phrase take a dim view of takes a dim view of human nature
3 : not perceiving clearly and distinctly dim eyes
4 : dim-witted too dim to understand the joke


dimmed; dimming

Definition of dim (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to make dim or lusterless dimmed their hopes of an early settlement
2 : to reduce the light from dim the headlights

intransitive verb

: to become dim the lights dimmed their beauty had dimmed



Definition of dim (Entry 3 of 4)

1 archaic : dusk, dimness
2 automotive vehicles : low beam

Definition of dim (Entry 4 of 4)

1 dimension
2 diminished
3 diminuendo
4 diminutive

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Other Words from dim


dimly adverb
dimmable \ ˈdi-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce dimmable (audio) \ adjective
dimness noun

Examples of dim in a Sentence


Just the dim outline of the building could be seen through the fog. I have a dim memory of your last visit.


The latest setback has dimmed hopes of an early settlement. Hopes of an early settlement have dimmed.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

As with the IdeaPad S340, panels run a bit on the dim side, from 220 nits to a tolerable 250 nits. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Lenovo's latest IdeaPads offer Intel, AMD, and an Nvidia mystery," 24 Feb. 2019 Claudio Alongi, Nino Negri’s other winemaker, descends into the dim cellars that reach four stories underground to taste tank samples and vintages at various stages of fermentation and aging, walking past century-old casks black with age. Christopher Ross, WSJ, "The Hidden Valley in the Italian Alps Where Winemakers Are Working Against Nature," 15 Feb. 2019 Vases for flowers—so many vases, in the palest roses and dim violets. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Sorry Marie Kondo—I Love Mess!," 12 Feb. 2019 The mount includes three clips that help keep the cord in place, and the cord has a dimmer as well. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "This Mount Turns Any Pendant Light Into a Plug-In Lamp," 30 Jan. 2019 Deficits usually occur in the two photoreceptors involved in sight: rods, which handle dim light and night vision and seeing in black and white, and cones, which handle daylight and bright vision and seeing in color. Caren Chesler, Popular Mechanics, "A Vision Quest," 6 Mar. 2019 The wonderful old drawings shimmered with mystery in the dim light. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Inspiring Words for Aspiring Readers," 13 Dec. 2018 Inside, a woodstove glows in the dim light, and a couple lounges on benches, absorbed in their books as the late afternoon light slants through the windows. Daniel Otis, Sunset, "Awe-Inspiring Canadian Rockies Camping Adventure," 22 Jan. 2018 With most residents struggling to survive or planning to leave the country, the prospects for new protests are dim. Kejal Vyas, WSJ, "Venezuelan Leader Starts Second Term With Grim Outlook," 10 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There will be not as many flashing lights and dimmed sound and the actors will be ready for the fact that there may be audience participating a little more than the evening show that night. Kathy Cichon, chicagotribune.com, "Youth theater presents 'Best of Broadway' show at Steel Beam," 14 June 2018 But in recent days, scandal has threatened to dim one of the Democratic Party’s brightest Southern stars. Richard Fausset, New York Times, "‘I Know That God Will Forgive Me,’ the Nashville Mayor Says. But Will the Voters?," 6 Feb. 2018 These are priceless cornerstones of our collective memory, and age has not dimmed their power. Melik Kaylan, WSJ, "‘Devotion and Decadence: The Berthouville Treasure and Roman Luxury From the Bibliothèque Nationale de France’ Review: Shining Silver From an Untarnished Trove," 31 Oct. 2018 Even the recent revelations of seemingly modest North Korean progress on missile technology and the production of nuclear fuel — including continued work on a new nuclear reactor that can produce plutonium — have not dimmed Mr. Trump’s enthusiasm. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "How Trump Went From ‘Fire and Fury’ to Dismissing North Korean Nuclear Advances," 4 July 2018 And all that happened before last week’s earnings report, in which Facebook revealed that its growth prospects around the world were dimming. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom on winning the Stories war," 2 Aug. 2018 Kirchhoff noted Locklear’s chances had dimmed because of his ties to Francis. Craig Whitlock, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Fat Leonard’ corruption probe affected Pentagon’s pick to lead Joint Chiefs," 2 Apr. 2018 As the decades roll on, nothing seems capable of dimming our appreciation for Silly Putty. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "A Serious Ode To Silly Putty," 27 Dec. 2018 Photo: murad sezer/Reuters Rising yields in the U.S. tend to dim the allure of emerging-market assets for income-seeking buyers. Ira Iosebashvili, WSJ, "Dollar Rises Against Emerging-Market Currencies," 4 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Not because our desire for justice dims, but because the chance of achieving it does. Fox News, "Tucker: Brett Kavanaugh and the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party," 18 Sep. 2018 David would drive to JPL's dim, theater-like mission-control room to get started, and Bryn would find things for the kids to do—taking them on late-night bike rides, to diners and all-night bowling alleys. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Inside the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: NASA's Crazy, Kooky, Legendary Research Facility," 3 Nov. 2016 From Earth, the immense stone appears as a dim yellow dot. Fox News, "'Monster' asteroid 4 times than the UK is so close to Earth you can see it - and here's how," 27 June 2018 Our next stop, Golden Paramount, was a different kind of dim-sum experience. Taras Grescoe, New York Times, "The Best Asian Food in North America? Try British Columbia," 4 June 2018 The house lights dim, an engine roars, and stars flame and flicker out. New York Times, "Three Journeys Under the Radar: Trippy, Unsettling and Affectionate," 11 Jan. 2018 The real question is much tougher to answer: If LaBeouf’s instability informs his acting, will damping the one dim the other? Matthew Brookes, Esquire, "Shia LaBeouf Is Ready To Talk About It," 13 Mar. 2018 With hopes for a broad budget agreement dim, Congress is expected to pass yet another short-term stopgap measure despite resistance from Republican deficit hawks and Democrats who want to cut a deal on immigration legislation. The New York Times, New York Times, "Big U.S. Trade Gap Expected, and European Stimulus Plan at Issue," 4 Feb. 2018 Norwegian programmer and YouTuber Bjørn Nyland highlights an experiment in highway lights that auto-dim when nobody's around. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Highway Lights Save Energy by Dimming When No Cars Are Around," 4 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dim.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dim


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dim

Adjective, Verb, and Noun

Middle English, from Old English dimm; akin to Old High German timber dark

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Dictionary Entries near dim







dim bulb

Statistics for dim

Last Updated

6 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dim

The first known use of dim was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for dim



English Language Learners Definition of dim

: to make (a light) less bright or to become less bright
: to make (something) less strong or clear or to become less strong or clear


\ ˈdim How to pronounce dim (audio) \
dimmer; dimmest

Kids Definition of dim

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not bright or distinct : faint a dim light
2 : not seeing or understanding clearly dim eyes He has only a dim awareness of the problem.

Other Words from dim

dimly adverb
dimness noun


dimmed; dimming

Kids Definition of dim (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make or become less bright or clear Please dim the lights. His eyesight dimmed with age.

Medical Definition of dim


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More from Merriam-Webster on dim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dim

Spanish Central: Translation of dim

Nglish: Translation of dim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dim for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dim

What made you want to look up dim? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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