\ 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 Patrick Brennan, The Enquirer/Pat Brennan Never a dull moment for FC Cincinnati. Pat Brennan, Cincinnati.com, "MLS expansion draft: FC Cincinnati trades for attacker Brandon Vazquez, parts with Alvas Powell, 2020 SuperDraft pick," 20 Nov. 2019 In the music video, the country singer and his kid Knox Bentley have the perfect father-son day -- jamming out, having a Nerf gun war, going for ice cream, playing in a foam ball pit and never having a dull moment. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "Here Are the Lyrics to Dierks Bentley's 'Living'," 16 Sep. 2019 What is clear to me is that our knives are too dull to be used as weapons and that this is not a good way to start a day. Beverly Beckham, BostonGlobe.com, "’Til our digital calendar do us part," 4 Sep. 2019 The suggestion Cordray and DeWine are too dull to be governor was always based on flawed logic. Robert Higgs, cleveland.com, "AP declares Jim Renacci as winner of GOP primary for U.S. Senate," 8 May 2018 What should be soaring is instead lugubrious; what should be a ripping good yarn is instead dutiful and a little bit dull. Ann Hornaday, Houston Chronicle, "Splendid visuals can't save dull Netflix drama 'The King'," 30 Oct. 2019 Fighting Thanos for control of the Infinity Stones shouldn’t be this dull. Matthew Gault, Time, "'Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3' Is Only As Much Fun As the Friends You Play it With," 1 Aug. 2019 The outside was unbearable, and the inside was dull. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Depression and the Solace of 'Grinding' in Online Games," 24 July 2019 In fact, in the midst of volatile markets, being downright dull can prove the recipe for investment. Suzanne Mcgee, WSJ, "And the No. 1 Stock-Fund Manager Is…," 8 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Whether your hair's color has dulled or your ends are breaking, the right coconut oil hair mask can restore it to perfect hair day glory. Harper's BAZAAR, "The Most Nourishing Coconut Oil Hair Masks You Can Make at Home," 4 Oct. 2019 Siding that’s pelted by rain or snow can dull over time, just as decks and patios can warp and splinter. Kelly Dawson, House Beautiful, "How to Choose the Right Outdoor Paint for Your Project," 18 Sep. 2019 Both pools were deeply heated, meaning Michael’s churning couldn’t bring up enough cool water to dull the wind speeds. Kimberly Miller, sun-sentinel.com, "A monster grew in the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s why more may follow," 9 Oct. 2019 Gray, a more restrained director, gives us little of Roy’s earthly life, something that dulls the movie’s emotional arc when Roy begins to look backward. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: A space odyssey with Brad Pitt in ‘Ad Astra’," 18 Sep. 2019 Though this knife comes with some sticker shock, the high-quality blade that resists dulling is worth the price. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Survival Knives to Get You Through Any Adventure or Disaster," 16 Sep. 2019 And yet, Gregory studiously avoids some of the delicious angst of her previous novels, instead instilling Alinor with an internal calm that dulls the edges of the book’s high stakes. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Tidelands is a dull, dour misstep from Philippa Gregory: EW review," 21 Aug. 2019 Combatants bludgeoned their opponents to the ground with swords, winged maces, and sledge hammers, among other weapons dulled per the competition’s rulebook. Laura Mallonee, WIRED, "For These Sword-Wielding Warriors, Medieval Battles Live On," 27 Aug. 2019 Without this effort, our memories will be gradually, carelessly buried under the debris of our lives, the sharpness of our good intentions dulled under the weight of time passed. Lucy Dacus, New York Times, "Woodstock, a Utopia? Not for Every Generation," 6 Aug. 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


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

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Dull.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dulls. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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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