dull

adjective
\ ˈdəl \

Definition of dull

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : tedious, uninteresting dull lectures
2 : lacking sharpness of edge or point a dull knife
3a : not resonant or ringing a dull booming sound
b : lacking in force, intensity, or sharpness a dull ache
4 : lacking brilliance or luster a dull finish
5 : cloudy dull weather
6 of a color : low in saturation (see saturation sense 4a) and low in lightness a dull green
7 : mentally slow : stupid
8a : slow in perception or sensibility : insensible somewhat dull of hearing dull to what went on about her— Willa Cather
b : lacking zest (see zest sense 2) or vivacity : listless a dull performance
9 : slow in action : sluggish dull markets

dull

verb
dulled; dulling; dulls

Definition of dull (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make dull dull a knife's edge

intransitive verb

: to become dull The blade dulled with use.

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Other Words from dull

Adjective

dullness or less commonly dulness \ ˈdəl-​nəs \ noun
dully \ ˈdə(l)-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for dull

Synonyms: Adjective

blunt, blunted, dulled, obtuse

Synonyms: Verb

benumb, blunt, cauterize, damp, dampen, deaden, numb

Antonyms: Adjective

cutting, edged, edgy, ground, honed, keen, pointed, sharp, sharpened, whetted

Antonyms: Verb

sharpen, whet

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Choose the Right Synonym for dull

Adjective

dull, blunt, obtuse mean not sharp, keen, or acute. dull suggests a lack or loss of keenness, zest, or pungency. a dull pain a dull mind blunt suggests an inherent lack of sharpness or quickness of feeling or perception. a person of blunt sensibility obtuse implies such bluntness as makes one insensitive in perception or imagination. too obtuse to take the hint

synonyms see in addition stupid

Examples of dull in a Sentence

Adjective

the dull roar of the crowd the dull knife just bounced off the skin of the tomato without cutting it

Verb

Fog dulled the morning sunlight. Special earplugs dulled the sound of the chain saw. His hair dulled as he aged. The dog's eyes dulled as he got sick. She takes medicine to dull the pain. Fear dulled his need for adventure. The knife was dulled from use. The blade should be replaced as soon as it dulls.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Schumer's look was dull and lackluster, which is so unlike the vibrant and funny comedian. Carolina Gonzales, Houston Chronicle, "Tiffany Haddish, Tina Fey turn up at the Tony Awards: Best and worst dressed celebrities," 10 June 2018 In the early 19th century, according to Lois Banner in American Beauty, women married in their teens, were grandmothers by 35, and considered dull by 40. Joan Kron, Town & Country, "The President's Facelift Tweet Wasn't Just Nasty—It Was Also Factually Inaccurate," 30 June 2017 The fun silhouettes of Italian designer Alessandra Baldereschi's vegetable-shape wood chopping boards (launching in the U.S. this Spring through Italian manufacturer Seletti) will make your traditional chopping board seem rather dull. Mairi Beautyman, House Beautiful, "Fun Find: Colorful, Vegetable-Shape Cutting Boards," 16 Jan. 2014 Spine: The thicker (dull) top portion of the blade, which adds stability and strength. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "The Right Way to Use a Chef's Knife," 7 Nov. 2018 And that slower cell regeneration is what causes your face to look dry, dull, and wrinkled. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "What Is Retinol: The Beginner's Guide to Anti-Aging Products," 23 Aug. 2018 But even in the dullest of company, figuring out when exactly to pull the lamb off the fire can be tricky. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "Lamb, Under Fire, and at Its Best," 6 July 2018 Algeria took the two points then awarded for a win (changed to three points after the devastatingly dull 1990 World Cup). David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Why are the last matches in each World Cup group played at the same time?," 26 June 2018 Unfortunately, that lack of daringness also results in the evening feeling stodgy and dull, Stoll's attempts at comic relief notwithstanding. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Othello': Theater Review," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Then came a numbing cream to dull the pain of the blade. Jessica Yarbrough, SELF, "Microblading Helped Me Stop Obsessively Pulling Out My Eyebrows," 5 Dec. 2018 The downside is that delaying the franchise’s start by a year risks dulling some of the momentum that has been building within the Seattle marketplace. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "NHL could announce October 2021 start date for new Seattle team as early as Tuesday," 3 Dec. 2018 Yet even as time numbed his wounds, success and self-indulgence dulled his pen. Robert R. Garnett, WSJ, "A Lost Love Gave Us Hemingway’s Spare Prose," 6 July 2018 The blade serrations stop part of the blade from making contact with the cutting board, which dulls edges much faster. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "How To Buy Kitchen Knives Like a Pro," 24 Oct. 2018 Some shots are administered by sticking a needle through a rubber tube to draw out the medicine before the needle is used in the skin, which can dull the needle and be more painful, Stewart said. Erica Sweeney, Teen Vogue, "Why Do Some Vaccines Hurt More Than Others?," 24 Oct. 2018 You are lulled into a hypnotic state that dulls the senses and the prefrontal cortex. Anne Slowey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Fear and Self-Loathing in the American Southwest," 25 July 2018 But Guterres also noted that America’s dulling shine isn’t just about its own actions. Alex Ward, Vox, "America’s declining power, in one quote," 14 Sep. 2018 In either of these instances, your ears might feel all clogged up, which can dull sound and cause discomfort or pain. Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "7 Ear Problems That Can Mess With Your Summer," 18 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dull.' 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 dull

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for dull

Adjective and Verb

Middle English dul; akin to Old English dol foolish, Old Irish dall blind

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Statistics for dull

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dull

The first known use of dull was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for dull

dull

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of dull

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not exciting or interesting

: having an edge or point that is not sharp

of a sound : not clear and loud

dull

verb

English Language Learners Definition of dull (Entry 2 of 2)

: to become or cause (something) to become less clear, distinct, bright, or shiny

: to make (something, such as a feeling) less sharp, strong, or severe

: to become or cause (something, such as a knife or blade) to become less sharp

dull

adjective
\ ˈdəl \
duller; dullest

Kids Definition of dull

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not sharp in edge or point : blunt a dull knife
2 : not shiny or bright The old trophy had a dull finish.
3 : not interesting : boring a dull movie
4 : not clear and ringing a dull sound
5 : not sharp or intense I have a dull ache in my arm.
6 : slightly grayish a dull red
7 : cloudy sense 1, overcast a dull sky
8 : slow in understanding things : not smart
9 : without energy or spirit She was feeling dull.
10 : slow in action : sluggish Business was dull.

Other Words from dull

dullness noun
dully adverb

dull

verb
dulled; dulling

Kids Definition of dull (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make or become less sharp, bright, or intense Medicine dulled the pain.

dull

adjective
\ ˈdəl \

Medical Definition of dull

1 : mentally slow or stupid
2 : slow in perception or sensibility
3 : lacking sharpness of edge or point a dull scalpel
4 : lacking in force, intensity, or acuteness a dull pain

Other Words from dull

dull verb
dullness or dulness \ ˈdəl-​nəs \ noun
dully \ ˈdəl-​ē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on dull

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dull

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dull

Spanish Central: Translation of dull

Nglish: Translation of dull for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dull for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dull

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