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

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 But nitro finishes dull over time and the paint chips off. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "Can Guitar Paint Affect Your Tone?," 31 Dec. 2018 Still popular Despite dull industry performance, investors still haven’t lost their taste for hedge funds. Eric Uhlfelder, WSJ, "Hedge Funds Are on the Way to a Bad 10-Year Streak," 9 Sep. 2018 The product contains apricot kernel oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E, and claims to get rid of dull-looking skin. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'America's Got Talent' Judge Heidi Klum Spills Her Secret to Flawless Skin," 18 July 2018 But these 1970s buildings seemed to Kingelez just a starting point, too international, too dull for his idea of the nation. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "Concrete utopia," 12 July 2018 At their worst, travel books are dated, deeply racist, or just painfully dull. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, "The 8 Best Travel Books of All Time," 23 June 2018 When creating a notable renovation on an otherwise dull block, isn’t there a danger of the home looking a bit aberrant? R. Daniel Foster, latimes.com, "Orange County's boring 'burbs get HGTV makeovers," 22 June 2018 But Reverie’s pilot turns the idea toward optimism and earnest schmaltz — with extremely dull results. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "NBC’s new VR thriller Reverie is a schmaltzy take on techno-dystopia," 30 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

13 Feb 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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