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

Aside from breakouts on my cheeks and clogged pores on my nose, my complexion just looked somewhat duller and sadder overall. Sarah Wu, Glamour, "Kate Somerville’s Glow-Boosting Moisturizer Cured My Fear of Retinol," 19 Aug. 2019 Never a dull moment on vacation with the Kardashian Wests. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian Matches Swimsuits with Her Kids on Vacation in the Bahamas," 21 Aug. 2019 There's never a dull moment in Georgia with Karin Slaughter on the literary rampage. Richard Lipez, Dallas News, "White supremacists are the eerily relevant villains in Karin Slaughter's new novel," 20 Aug. 2019 As fans crowd the stadium decked in orange, there’s never a dull moment. Bobby Sullivan, SI.com, "The Greatest Stadiums in College Football History," 12 Aug. 2019 In other words, those who are least inclined to experiencing boredom also benefit the most from tedium, while those who haven’t learned to love monotony are not getting much from dull moments. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "To be your most interesting self, get good at being bored," 10 Aug. 2019 There is a lot of dull plastic that is acceptable for off-road scuffing but not for interior finesse. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Honda Passport: off-road ready, city-smart," 11 Aug. 2019 Your reality now is either submitting to dull visits, or upsetting your husband . . . which at this point may be a false choice, since the former may feed the latter. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: His family events are staring contests. Why didn’t you bat an eye?," 10 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For the other two, the shine could be dulled. ODELL BECKHAM JR. Michael Beller, SI.com, "Season of the Switch: How Will Top Fantasy Stars Fare With Their New Teams?," 1 July 2019 Blood flows away from the fingers and toes, dulling the senses. Dahleen Glanton, chicagotribune.com, "Column: I participated in a concealed carry class, and it reaffirmed why I would never own a gun," 22 Aug. 2019 The manufacturer continues to churn out 42 single-aisle 737 jets a month to dull the blow to suppliers. Los Angeles Times, "Boeing burns $1 billion in cash waiting for its 737 Max to resume flying," 24 July 2019 The true, rich dynamics and frequency ranges of the wood were dulled and thus a lot of people eschewed polyester and polyurethane and still do to this day. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "Can Guitar Paint Affect Your Tone?," 31 Dec. 2018 Aquarius Don’t be surprised if your usual dynamism dulls a bit this month, but think of this time as a solid recharge. Catherine O’neill, Bon Appetit, "Your January Horoscope: Dumplings and Predictions," 2 Jan. 2018 But Sunday's comeback win was dulled by the loss of all-star starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff, whose oblique injury means the team must now patch together a rotation that already isn't clicking on all cylinders. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers podcast: Good news! The Brewers won a bunch of games. But there's bad news, too...," 22 July 2019 The sound of echoes and loud footsteps can be dulled with rugs and noise-buffering layers. oregonlive.com, "Secrets of a broke housekeeper-turned-multimillionaire: Designer Jennifer Adams returns to Portland," 25 June 2019 Getty Images Mischa was on the up and up, but the rumors swirling around her threatened to dull her shine, and Perez Hilton's mean-spirited two cents certainly didn't do her any favors. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Why Are Mischa Barton and Perez Hilton Feuding on 'The Hills: New Beginnings'?," 2 July 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

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

11 Sep 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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