\ 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 oftakes a dim view of human nature
3 : dim-witted too dim to understand the joke
4 : not perceiving clearly and distinctly dim eyes


dimmed; dimming

Definition of dim (Entry 2 of 4)

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



Definition of dim (Entry 3 of 4)

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

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 dim (audio) \ adjective
dimness noun

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Despite his dim view of the bocche di leone, Twain did come to appreciate the vestiges of Venice’s past as a city-state with global significance. Kasia Dietz, Travel, "Need to complain? Here’s how Renaissance-era Venetians did it," 4 Jan. 2021 The performance kicked off with cowboys riding into an open-air dirt-floor stadium in dim light. Anna Chan, Billboard, "Megan Thee Stallion Brings the Heat to Apple Music Awards 2020 With Fiery Six-Song Set," 15 Dec. 2020 But the prospects for local and statewide bans appear dim, especially in the wake of a Supreme Court decision siding with church groups over anti-COVID restrictions in New York. Rafael Olmeda, sun-sentinel.com, "No one can stop anti-gay therapy in Florida — for now. How LGBTQ advocates are rethinking their battle strategy.," 6 Dec. 2020 Maids, being young, unmarried serving women who lived in their employers’ households, were vulnerable, and colonial law courts took a dim view of anyone who attacked them. Carla Gardina Pestana, The Conversation, "In the 1620s, Plymouth Plantation had its own #MeToo moment," 23 Nov. 2020 But the government generally takes a dim view of criticism. Shashank Bengali, Los Angeles Times, "He held up a smiley-face sign in public. Singapore charged him with unlawful assembly," 19 Nov. 2020 But millions of Americans remain unemployed, with dim prospects. NBC News, "Trump wants credit for 'fastest GDP growth in history.' Here's a reality check.," 28 Oct. 2020 The stark division between the top two Republicans in Washington was the latest indication of the dim pre-election prospects for enactment of a broad pandemic recovery package that economists have said is badly needed. Alan Rappeport, New York Times, "Republicans Clash on Stimulus as Trump Says ‘Go Big’ and McConnell Demurs," 15 Oct. 2020 Firing the advisory panel and opting not to pursue a more stringent particulate standard were in keeping with the administration of President Donald Trump’s dim view of environmental regulation. Gordon Russell, NOLA.com, "EPA refuses to reduce particulate pollution, linked by scientists to coronavirus deaths," 21 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Many headlamps are designed to dim after several minutes. The Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Gear of the Year: The Best Products We Tested in 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 As the gray day started to dim, more-experienced bird watchers appeared carrying cameras outfitted with huge telephoto lenses. Susan Degrane, chicagotribune.com, "Eyeing eagles: Winter is a perfect time to get outside, beat cabin fever and go birding," 26 Dec. 2020 Smaller planes won't mean less comfort: Expect to see wider seats, larger windows that are able to dim, and more spacious overhead bins. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "What the Future of Air Travel Looks Like," 14 Dec. 2020 Yet here’s the moment when the glow of the genomics revolution starts to dim: What happens when a drug stops working? Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Wired, "One Man’s Search for the DNA Data That Could Save His Life," 19 Nov. 2020 Among the bundle’s features are blind-spot assist, adaptive cruise control with braking, lane-keep, traffic-jam and highway assist as well as traffic sign recognition and outside mirrors that automatically dim. Jeff Yip, Chron, "Refresh sweetens 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio's allure," 6 Nov. 2020 View this post on Instagram because nothing can dim your light! Chelsea Hall, Marie Claire, "The 43 Black-Owned Beauty Brands We'll Never Stop Talking About," 28 Oct. 2020 Then, dim the lights for a club aesthetic and get your blood pumping. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "11 New ‘Me Time’ Activities to Try After You've Done All the 1,000-Piece Puzzles," 1 Dec. 2020 As global stock-market gains begin to level off, Rory’s dreams of growing his capital start to dim; his debts are piling up and financial gambles are disintegrating his savings. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Nest Is a Haunted-House Movie Without Ghosts," 27 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But as the immediate prospects of additional state and local aid from Washington dim, unions and progressive groups are intensifying their campaign for Albany lawmakers to adopt new revenue streams. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "New York State Lawmakers Weigh Tax Increase on Wealthy," 16 Dec. 2020 The claustrophobia of this—of fire turning the entire West Coast dim with smoke, on top of the fear, isolation, and long-term lockdown imposed by the pandemic—is almost too much to bear. Emma Marris, The Atlantic, "The West Has Never Felt So Small," 10 Sep. 2020 From the 1830s to the 1950s, minstrel shows depicted Black people as subservient, dim-witted, lazy and docile. Richard J. Reddick For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "American companies wouldn't have as many racist logos if C-Suites were more diverse," 20 June 2020 Cloaked in dim, ambient lighting, this chain of events recurs throughout the film, though some of his late-night forays, on foot or by bicycle, are actually dreams while others are revealed as cruising. Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, New York Times, "‘15 Years’ Review: On the Run From a Midlife Crisis," 30 Apr. 2020 Then came last season's game, on Feb. 24 at Crisler Center, with MSU’s hopes of a second straight Big Ten title looking dim after a host of injuries. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "How Cassius Winston and Zavier Simpson have made MSU vs. U-M a one-on-one matchup," 5 Jan. 2020 Stocks in Europe and Asia fell broadly as the global prospects for economic growth dim amid trade uncertainty. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Dow: Signs of slowing job growth, troubles overseas push US stocks lower," 1 Oct. 2019 In the dim, red light of an alien sun, scientists have found the first evidence for water in the atmosphere of a rocky planet - offering a tantalizing new target in the search for life in the universe. Sarah Kaplan, Anchorage Daily News, "Scientists say they found their first potentially habitable planet with water in its skies," 12 Sep. 2019 In the dim, red light of an alien sun, scientists have found the first evidence for water in the atmosphere of a rocky planet - offering a tantalizing new target in the search for life in the universe. Sarah Kaplan, Anchorage Daily News, "Scientists say they found their first potentially habitable planet with water in its skies," 12 Sep. 2019

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 2


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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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Time Traveler for dim

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dim

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dim.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dim. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dim

Nglish: Translation of dim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dim for Arabic Speakers

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