\ 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 dull (audio) \ noun
dully \ ˈdə(l)-​lē How to pronounce dull (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 One of the minds behind The Real World admits that, during a particularly dull two-week stretch in season one, producers planted a Bruce Weber photo book in the living room. Jensen Davis, The New Republic, "Andy Cohen’s Reality Television Fantasy," 7 May 2021 Warmer tones also read brighter and shiner, while cool tones can fall flat and look dull. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "Is Vintage Blond the New Platinum?," 4 May 2021 The shallow concept lends predictability to the robots’ scheme to launch the human race into space in the hopes of creating a utopian bot civilization and makes PAL a terribly dull villain. Robert Daniels, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Hit the road with ‘The Mitchells vs. the Machines,’ an agreeable Netflix family distraction," 30 Apr. 2021 One of my initial skin care concerns was dull skin, but this oil keeps that at bay by using the antioxidant and omega properties in superberries like acai, maqui, prickly pear and goji. Rebecca Rodriguez, NBC News, "Why one shopping writer uses Youth to the People for all her skin care needs," 14 Apr. 2021 Violet GreyThis highly concentrated and fast-acting serum combines the powerful mix of vitamin C to brighten skin and AHAs, to gently resurface dull skin for more radiant results. Anjana Rajbhandary, chicagotribune.com, "Vitamin C serum benefits," 3 Apr. 2021 Unfortunately, lack of sleep has a way of manifesting itself physically, and dull skin and dark circles can be some of the telltale signs of restlessness. Sarah Boyd, Forbes, "6 Skincare Products For Those Sleepless Nights," 25 Feb. 2021 Another wrote that there was never a dull moment whenever Conrad was working. Mike Masterson, Arkansas Online, "MASTERSON ONLINE: Godspeed, young Conrad," 17 Apr. 2021 While Capparella's choice might be a bit boring, there'd never be a dull moment in contributor Jonathon Ramsey's 90K-mile Bentley Continental GT. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, "$50,000 Used Cars We'd Keep for Five Years: Window Shop with Car and Driver," 9 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When the Jazz are beating teams by a league-leading average margin of victory, there are times when that can dull their edges a bit. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Gordon Monson: Nobody believes in the Jazz, so their mission is to shock the world and prove it wrong," 30 Mar. 2021 The highest-risk people — 60-plus — have already been vaccinated, so that could dull any imminent COVID-19 surge. Amy Lavalley, chicagotribune.com, "Gov. Holcomb adjustment to Indiana mask advisory leaves health professionals, others questioning if announcement is premature," 24 Mar. 2021 Of course, there are some retailers whose only goal is to add sales volume, and a mission with that directive can only serve to dull politically acerbic public opinion. Rick Helfenbein, Forbes, "When China Rings The Bell In Xinjiang - Retail Crumbles," 12 Apr. 2021 Repeat viewings don’t dull the suspense and only inspire awe at how Hitchcock handles the single set and the perspective of Stewart’s character. New York Times, "5 Things to Do This Weekend," 8 Apr. 2021 By then, however, Prosper’s play appeared to dull slightly. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, "Soccer playoff roundup: Unbeaten Prosper passes area-round test; FM Marcus and Melissa advance," 29 Mar. 2021 When hearty winter vegetables are pureed into smooth, creamy soups, they’re often weighed down by too much butter or cream, which can dull the flavors. Christopher Kimball, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipes: Three creamy vegetable soups with a twist: no dairy necessary," 16 Mar. 2021 The formula intensely targets grey, brown, yellow, red, and violet chromatic disturbances that can dull skin's natural light and boosts the reflection of light from the skin, illuminating it. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, "Understanding Skincare That Will Make Your Feel Good Inside And Out.," 1 Mar. 2021 Depending on the materials used, these scrapers also tend to dull fairly quickly, especially on the end meant for heavy-duty ice work. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Best ice scraper: Hassle-free ways to get rid of snow and ice," 26 Feb. 2021

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

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dull.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dull. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for dull



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dull

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dull

Nglish: Translation of dull for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dull for Arabic Speakers

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