dull

adjective
\ ˈdəl How to pronounce dull (audio) \

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 How to pronounce dulness (audio) \ noun
dully \ ˈdə(l)-​lē How to pronounce dully (audio) \ 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

The party was splendid, and conversation topics were anything but dull. Zachary Schwartz, Vogue, "Emily Ratajkowski, Sienna Miller, and More Celebrate the Ultra-Cool Rem Koolhaas at the New Museum’s Spring Gala," 4 Apr. 2019 Grain bowls can be a symphony of flavor — or dull as dishwater. Carrie Dennett, The Seattle Times, "Grain bowls are trending. Here’s how to make your own.," 28 Nov. 2018 While most of us strive to achieve a picture-perfect complexion, annoying factors like acne, hormones, sun exposure and pollutants can wreak havoc, leaving behind spotty, scarred or dull skin. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "Get brighter, glowing skin with these tips," 21 Aug. 2018 One part rosy blush, one part opalescent highlighter, this new all-in-one palette provides a radiant lit-from-within glow even on the dullest of January days. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "13 New Beauty Products Worth the Hype in 2019," 9 Jan. 2019 Small disruptions in our sleep have been shown to alter basic indicators of our health and dull our mental edge. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Daylight saving time ends Sunday: 8 things to know about “falling back”," 2 Nov. 2018 This is a professional-grade, three-stage electric sharpener that quickly sharpens even the dullest, most abused knives. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Knife Sharpener," 23 Feb. 2019 Both sides give off the dull, musty smells of work-glove function: stale sawdust and grease pierced with top notes of gasoline. Liz Arnold, Longreads, "Making Peace with the Site of a Suicide," 11 July 2018 From the dry, freezing air on the streets to the central heat indoors, winter is virtually designed to suck the moisture out of your complexion, leaving it brittle, easily irritated, and devastatingly dull. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "12 Face and Body Moisturizers That Will Transform Dry Winter Skin Overnight," 31 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

All that walking hasn't dulled their shine, either. Glamour, "I’m So Glad I Bought These Sneakers After I Saw Meghan Markle Wear Them," 21 Mar. 2019 The Casual Vacancy effectively dulled my appetite for grownup books from J.K. Rowling. Constance Grady, Vox, "J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike books are the next best thing to a grown-up Harry Potter," 31 Aug. 2018 That, Kunin says, should help flush any complexion-dulling waste from your system. Jillian Ruffo, Glamour, "I Tried a Glow-Boosting IV Treatment to See If It'd Give Me Better Skin," 30 Nov. 2018 Some economists have said uncertainty over trade, aggravated by tariffs imposed by Mr. Trump in 2018, might dull the business-investment boost the large cut in the corporate-tax rate was designed to spur. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "WSJ Tax Guide 2019: The Tax Cut’s Economic Impact," 15 Feb. 2019 The only countertop that can actually be used as a cutting surface, butcher-block won't dull your knives like stone or concrete counters. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Butcher-Block Countertops: Pros, Cons, and Everything Else You Should Know," 15 Jan. 2019 Kirkeminde grew up about a six-hour drive from here, in Knoxville, with a quick stint in Central Florida that did nothing to dull his Jack Daniels, Dollywood, you-want-that-barbecue-wet-or-dry? Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Inside FedEx’s Christmas Miracle," 19 Dec. 2018 Higher yields in the U.S. dull the appeal of emerging-market assets. Ira Iosebashvili, WSJ, "Brazilian Real Extends Rally," 9 Oct. 2018 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

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

8 May 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 How to pronounce dull (audio) \
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 How to pronounce dull (audio) \

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 How to pronounce dulness (audio) \ noun
dully \ ˈdəl-​ē How to pronounce dully (audio) \ 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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