\ 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 Pinocchio’s Daring Journey Built as an homage to the classic animated film, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey remains a bit too intense for children and dull for those all grown up. Carlye Wisel, Travel + Leisure, "All of the Rides at Disneyland, Ranked From Worst to Best," 28 Apr. 2020 The good cutting knives have somehow found their way in there, their edges duller than Broadway right now. Belinda Luscombe, Time, "No, How to Load the Dishwasher Isn't a Matter of Debate. Here's What You Need to Know," 28 Apr. 2020 Self-care wasn’t a novel concept on the App Store in early 2017—meditation apps like Headspace and Calm were already gaining buzz—but the most popular options either charged subscription fees or were medically-focused and dull. Jordan Mcmahon, Wired, "The App That Wants You to Treat Self Care Like a Garden," 11 Apr. 2020 Doing the correct thing and using good manners needn't be dull or boring. oregonlive, "Horoscope for April 1, 2020: Scorpio, envision endless possibilities; Sagittarius, friends don’t have the facts," 1 Apr. 2020 Of course, all work and no play can make any stay-at-home mandate dull. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "Free video apps can keep you connected while sheltering in place during COVID-19 pandemic," 27 Mar. 2020 The new show will, like the original, be centered on the story of a young woman named Penny Proud and the never-dull happenings of her family -- parents Oscar and Trudy, twin siblings and grandma Suga Mama. Sandra Gonzalez, CNN, "'The Proud Family' revived by Disney+," 27 Feb. 2020 For some, quarantine is merely inconvenient, or at worst, dull. Erin Schumaker, ABC News, "What life is like under novel coronavirus quarantine," 13 Feb. 2020 Neither dull nor beige, the landscape teemed with towering spruce and birch trees, brake-testing hills and bracing views of Lake Superior. Ingela Ratledge Amundson, WSJ, "The Gas Station That Frank Lloyd Wright Built," 29 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb False Starts Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, won the Iowa caucuses, but problems with counting the results dulled the impact of his historic triumph. Jennifer Epstein, Bloomberg.com, "Biden’s South Carolina Firewall Holds But Sanders Still Strong," 5 May 2020 Numerous surgeries along with a port implanted in his chest so fluids could be input dulled his sense of normalcy. Dennis Victory, al, "Hoover’s Cooper Tullo tackles life with confidence borne of perseverance, triumph," 12 Apr. 2020 Hannah, of Conservation International, is working to make sure that the reasons to promote biodiversity, including its pathogen-dulling potential, align with the other endangered elephant in the room: climate change. Eric Roston / Bloomberg, Time, "Want to Stop the Next Pandemic? Start Protecting Wildlife Habitats," 8 Apr. 2020 The Sox’ belt-tightening following an 84-win dud of a season dulled enthusiasm and bred apathy. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Air of uncertainty hovers over Red Sox camp in Florida," 26 Feb. 2020 Our long-term evaluations are, at their core, a test of whether that new-car shine holds up or dulls over time. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, "Our Long-Term 2019 Mercedes-Benz E450 Wagon Was a Love Story," 27 Apr. 2020 This is where my germaphobe kicks in: Know those shiny tree trunks or dulled rocks near off-balance crossings and overhangs? Matt Bean, Sunset Magazine, "The New Rules of Hiking During Quarantine," 20 Apr. 2020 The Harvard team’s models also depend in part on the rather bleak assumption that the scientific community won’t develop treatments or vaccines that dull the virus’s toll on health systems. Gregory Barber, Wired, "What if Covid-19 Returns Every Year, Like the Common Cold?," 15 Apr. 2020 Trump's accusations don't account for how the WHO relies on member states to report public health information, a key point that dulls his claim that the WHO was complicit in helping China cover-up the outbreak. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "Analysis: Trump halts funding to WHO. Experts say we need it now more than ever," 15 Apr. 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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

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