\ 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


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


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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for dull


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 characters’ motivations always remain crystal clear, even when their story is dull. Los Angeles Times, "Review: London and Amsterdam are the stars in dull Euro-thriller ‘The Host’," 16 Jan. 2020 Contrary to popular report, the criminal mind is remarkably dull. Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's magazine, "Criminal Minds," 6 Jan. 2020 Her personal list of pantry, refrigerator and freezer essentials features a broad range of grains, legumes, international condiments (mail-ordered if need be), and shelf-stable liquids that go a long way in ensuring meals never have to be dull. Susan Puckett, ajc, "‘Half Baked Harvest: Super Simple’ makes the most of your grocery trips," 31 Dec. 2019 Want to go with a set of steak knives for a friend whose set is too dull? NBC News, "17 best subscription boxes everyone on your list will love," 18 Dec. 2018 But memes that are obvious and dull don’t go viral—memes that are obvious and insightful do. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "Dolly Parton's Meme Exposes Social Media's Masquerade," 24 Jan. 2020 Though mathematicians and math teachers may have a reputation of being dry, dull and boring, Jensen is trying to make math interesting in an unconventional way. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This Wisconsin college professor uses knitting to teach math and explain geometry in 3D," 23 Jan. 2020 Try Vitamin C This vitamin, fruit and rootjuice combo will take skin from dull to dazzling. Essence, "Everything You Need To Know To Get The Skin You Want This Year," 20 Jan. 2020 The winter season can be rough on the skin, leaving the face dry, dull and dehydrated. Meg Hemphill, The Hollywood Reporter, "5 Skincare Must-Haves From Brands Used by Meghan Markle and Angelina Jolie," 18 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Time and age haven’t dulled Cloris’s memories, which abound in homespun sensory detail. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Headlong City Symphony," 24 Jan. 2020 Economist Michael Kremer has suggested that democratic redistribution within cooperatives dulls worker effort, while economist Gabriel Burdin has found evidence that more skilled and ambitious workers tend to quit co-ops. Noah Smith, Twin Cities, "Noah Smith: There’s no reason workers can’t be corporate owners," 5 Dec. 2019 Harsh cleaning products and the intense heat of the dishwasher can dull the wood’s surface. Cassie Armstrong, orlandosentinel.com, "Gift the cook in your family with unique, handcrafted olive wood kitchenware," 21 Nov. 2019 And the complexity of handling fast expansion both domestically and abroad dulled the retailer's ability to offer the fashions shoppers wanted. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "How Forever 21 Lost Its Way and Ended Up Filing for Bankruptcy," 30 Sep. 2019 We were finally released into the street hours later, clutching bidets, brains dulled from the creation that had just been birthed. Amanda Hess, New York Times, "The Wild Woman Awakens," 17 Dec. 2019 The vibrancy of the #MeToo movement has not dulled, Katz said, pointing to the actions taken by the Metropolitan Opera and the NFL on cases involving two of her firm’s clients just last week. BostonGlobe.com, "In the two years since the #MeToo movement exploded and the year since Christine Blasey Ford made her allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, speaking out about sexual assault and harassment has not become easier for victims, one of Ford’s lawyers said.," 3 Oct. 2019 The red and white stripes on the archway, once as striking as the Golden Gate Bridge, have dulled significantly over time. Peter Hartlaub, SFChronicle.com, "A love letter to Hunters Point crane, the most underrated Bay Area landmark," 8 Jan. 2020 Eventually, the teeth can be dulled (and not resharpened). Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "Zest up your everyday cooking with a rasp-style grater," 15 Nov. 2019

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7


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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Time Traveler for dull

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for dull

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dull.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dull?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=d&file=dull0001. Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for dull

How to pronounce dull (audio)

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



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
\ 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


dulled; dulling

Kids Definition of dull (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dull

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dull

Spanish Central: Translation of dull

Nglish: Translation of dull for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dull for Arabic Speakers

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