\ 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 Over that entire century the output of the printing presses in Lima and Mexico City was limited to fewer than 200 titles, most unbearably dull. The Economist, "A breed apart The Habsburgs’ marriages consolidated lands as well as faulty genes," 28 May 2020 If virtual museum tours sound a little dull, try a different approach. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "21 Activities to Stream That’ll Keep Your Kids (and You) Occupied," 11 Apr. 2020 The Fold display looked kinda foggy, dull, and washed out thanks, in part, to the flexible plastic refracting some of the light from the panel. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review—I think I hate flip phones," 28 Feb. 2020 Not one inch of the interior could be described as dull, boring, or unoriginal. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "The Biggest Revelation From 'Miss Americana' Is Taylor Swift's Maximalist Kitchen," 5 Feb. 2020 This news doesn't dull Staunton's excitement for taking on the iconic role. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "The Crown Will Officially End After Season 5," 3 Feb. 2020 Robert Wilonsky reports that its opening notes were quiet, even dull, the howls of activists now mere memories of days long ago. Jamie Hancock, Dallas News, "African American studies course close to green light, Biden leads in Texas polling, senators lob impeachment questions," 30 Jan. 2020 Last night’s debate, held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, was dull, dim, and desperate in its attempts to stoke bickering among the six candidates who made the stage (the only color came in the form of the candidates’ attire for the event). Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Last Night’s Debate Was An All-White Party Not Worth Attending," 15 Jan. 2020 The abject sadness of the postgame locker room had faded to a dull, more practical melancholy. Nora Princiotti, BostonGlobe.com, "In Patriots’ locker room, mood is melancholy a day after wild-card loss," 5 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

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dull.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dull. Accessed 4 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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