\ 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 Her sister would sometimes turn a dull brick red when another woman in the waiting room, due any minute now, went outside to chain‐smoke in the blooming courtyard. Patricia Lockwood, The New Yorker, "The Winged Thing," 23 Nov. 2020 Singer hopes to offer the history of Mendes' career, maturation and emotional journey through memory and imagery instead of hard fact, which renders the film feathery and dull. Robyn Bahr, Billboard, "'Shawn Mendes: In Wonder': Film Review," 23 Nov. 2020 California attempts to bounce back from a dull 34-10 loss at UCLA. oregonlive, "Oregon State Beavers vs. California Bears: Live updates," 21 Nov. 2020 And in the summer, all those water particles can create haziness that makes stars appear more dull. Jason Bittel, Washington Post, "Ever wondered about the best time for stargazing?," 16 Nov. 2020 Looking to brighten dull skin, or smooth out your skin’s uneven texture? Kari Molvar, Vogue, "15 of the Best Retinol Serums and Creams That Will Transform Your Skin," 14 Oct. 2020 Weather the dull start to get to a flurry of cool visuals and referential Easter eggs that put a modern, diverse touch on a couple of classics. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "What to stream this weekend: Netflix's holiday 'Jingle Jangle,' 'The Life Ahead' with Sophia Loren," 12 Nov. 2020 He was blacked up like the other players, his mask shone with the same dull glow. Ayana Mathis, New York Times, "On a Summer Night in Selma, an Eerie Carnival Comes to Town," 11 Nov. 2020 After Trump’s unpredictable Twitter furies, voters were saying, dull never looked so good. Clarence Page, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Another autopsy? Time for both parties to examine themselves," 10 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Millions of Americans dull the pain with prescription opioids. Rana Dasgupta, Harper's Magazine, "The Silenced Majority," 24 Nov. 2020 Alma, too, relies on pills and alcohol to try to dull the languors of a life devastated by professional and romantic disappointment. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, "Your move: ‘Queen’s Gambit’ offers viewers more than good chess," 24 Nov. 2020 The paucity of fans – some 11,000 will be allowed to attend games at brand new Globe Life Field, just a fly ball down the road from ostentatious and overwhelming AT&T Stadium – and the neutral site will certainly dull some of the event’s aesthetics. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "The 5 Tampa Bay Rays you need to know before the 2020 World Series begins," 20 Oct. 2020 The 64-year-old recovered after being treated with a bronchial nebulizer in March, but the ensuing months have done little to dull the trauma of his illness. Gene Johnson And Peter Prengaman, chicagotribune.com, "Pandemic survivors enraged by President Trump’s ‘Don’t be afraid of Covid’ tweet: ‘That behavior is an embarrassment’," 6 Oct. 2020 Low-grade chronic inflammation in individuals that commonly occurs during aging can also dull the ability of the innate and adaptive immune responses to react to pathogens. Popular Science, "Why COVID-19 attacks aging immune systems so fiercely," 6 Oct. 2020 That might serve as a broader reminder to Americans about our curious national narcissism, which can dull not only empathy but self-preservation. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "What a Positive Test Won’t Change About Trump and the Pandemic," 2 Oct. 2020 Some of the political satire's bite faded in later seasons as our world has become more absurd and shocking, but that doesn't dull the sharpness of star Julia Louis-Dreyfus' performance. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "The 50 best TV shows to watch on HBO Max right now: From 'Friends,' to 'Doctor Who,' to 'Looney Tunes'," 2 Oct. 2020 The shoots occurred in luxury hotel rooms throughout San Diego, where women reported being given alcohol or sometimes marijuana to dull their inhibitions. Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, "FBI offers $10,000 reward as search for GirlsDoPorn boss intensifies," 24 Sep. 2020

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

29 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dull.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dull. Accessed 1 Dec. 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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