dim

1 of 4

adjective

dimmer; dimmest
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
: dim-witted
too dim to understand the joke
4
: not perceiving clearly and distinctly
dim eyes
dimly adverb
dimmable adjective
dimness noun

dim

2 of 4

verb

dimmed; dimming

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to become dim
the lights dimmed
their beauty had dimmed

dim

3 of 4

noun

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

dim

4 of 4

abbreviation

1
dimension
2
diminished
3
diminuendo
4
diminutive

Examples of dim in a Sentence

Adjective Just the dim outline of the building could be seen through the fog. I have a dim memory of your last visit. Verb The latest setback has dimmed hopes of an early settlement. Hopes of an early settlement have dimmed.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Charmain Carryl moved with purpose through the dim, cavernous room. Chelsia Rose Marcius Lanna Apisukh, New York Times, 14 Feb. 2024 In the dim light, the green can look extremely dark. Claire Rutter, Rolling Stone, 13 Feb. 2024 But the chances that this dynamic will recur are dim. Aluf Benn, Foreign Affairs, 7 Feb. 2024 The quick switch Too often room lighting is simply too dim. Charlotte Observer, 30 Jan. 2024 The light that non-line-of-sight imaging depends on is typically very dim, and until now, the detectors that were efficient and sensitive enough for non-line-of-sight imaging could only detect either visible or near-infrared light. IEEE Spectrum, 1 Feb. 2024 The cones handle color vision and fine details while the rods manage vision in dim light. Matthew Solan, Chicago Tribune, 31 Jan. 2024 Small stained glass lamps in various shapes are interesting and add color to small, dim spaces. Charlotte Observer, 30 Jan. 2024 The accidental galaxy These dim ghosts are hard to find and even harder to study, requiring hours or days of observation to bring their visible starlight into focus. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, 26 Jan. 2024
Verb
Sony also added a customization option that allows gamers to dim or brighten their PS5's power indicator light by heading to Settings > System > Beep and Light. Kate Irwin, PCMAG, 6 Feb. 2024 As that optimism dims, some investors worry that the decline in transportation stocks suggests rough times ahead for the economy. Krystal Hur, CNN, 2 Feb. 2024 The zone has reduced noise levels, dimmed lighting and toys. Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Monet founded the impressionist movement before moving in an abstractionist direction as his eyesight dimmed, and he was widely celebrated during his 86 years. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Jan. 2024 As the prospects for a democratic transition dimmed, an unlikely new political force burst onto the scene. Nic Wirtz, Washington Post, 12 Jan. 2024 The television adds other notable specs, including over 40,000 dimming zones for powerful contrast and an advanced color gamut that covers an impressive 95 percent of the highest TV color range standard, BT.2020. Condé Nast, WIRED, 9 Jan. 2024 At the start of a 1,000-foot-long hallway connecting the Tom Bradley International terminal’s Great Hall to its west gates, the light dims to a soothing cerulean. August Brown, Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 2024 Luxury’s luster seemed to be dimming in 2023 as the rich held back on lavish spending. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune Europe, 26 Jan. 2024
Noun
After five minutes of submersion, chances of a rescue dim, said Dr. Michael Flaherty, a pediatric critical care physician and director of the Trauma & Injury Prevention Outreach Program at Mass General for Children. Sarah Raza, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Aug. 2023 An auto dim feature allows users to sleep without the glow of a bright screen, so your dad can rest peacefully. Brandi Fuller, Better Homes & Gardens, 21 Apr. 2023 The soundtrack is melancholy and the lighting dim. Pamela Constable, Washington Post, 28 Nov. 2022 Americans retain their faith in the American dream even as our prospects of upward mobility dim. New York Times, 5 Apr. 2022 The changes come as the city has been trying to decrease violent crime through policing and other methods, such as targeting blighted neighborhoods or areas with dim or no lighting. Dallas News, 9 Nov. 2022 And as fears about the pandemic dim in highly vaccinated countries after the wave of omicron variant infections, attention may be elsewhere. Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2022 Vic describes his wife as petulant, selfish, and a little dim, a spoiled child whose actions add up to little more than animalistic sensation seeking. Katie Rife, Vulture, 22 Mar. 2022 Like the planet Tatooine from Star Wars, two suns — one bright, one dim and red— rise over the horizon of Kepler 47d. Korey Haynes, Discover Magazine, 16 Apr. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dim.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective, Verb, and Noun

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

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near dim

Cite this Entry

“Dim.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dim. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

dim

1 of 2 adjective
dimmer; dimmest
1
: not bright or clear : obscure, faint
a dim light
2
: being without luster : dull
dim colors
3
a
: not seeing or understanding clearly
dim eyes
b
: not seen or understood clearly
had only a dim notion of what was going on
dimly adverb
dimness noun

dim

2 of 2 verb
dimmed; dimming
1
: to make or become dim
2
: to reduce the light from

Medical Definition

dim

abbreviation
diminished

More from Merriam-Webster on dim

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!