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

There's never a dull moment during the NBA draft, and tonight's event is expected to have more action than ever on the trade market. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Roundtable: What Will Be the Biggest Surprise on NBA Draft Night?," 20 June 2019 Fortunately for them, there wasn’t a dull moment—or dress, #JOVANI!—from the moment de Lesseps came onstage following an introduction from none other than herself. Lindy Segal, Glamour, "Luann de Lesseps Is Ready for Her Own ‘Countess and Friends’ Late Night Show," 28 Mar. 2019 At this point, one thing's for sure: With Pete around, there's never a dull moment. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Pete Nelson's Latest Project Proves He's The Ultimate Treehouse Master," 4 Oct. 2018 Parents Fred and Rachel raised three daughters, one son and one foster child there together, so there was never a dull moment. Juliet Muir, NBC News, "Missing persons case of Virginia mother Kelly Bergh-Dove remains unsolved 36 years later," 17 June 2018 Never a dull moment in San Francisco politics — except for those long minutes waiting for the next round of results. Trapper Byrne, San Francisco Chronicle, "Election day recap: A late-night surprise and striking results," 6 June 2018 There's never a dull moment onstage, though some of the musical comedy spoofing about guns, violence and our crazy voting system is overstretched. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "'Soft Power' at the Ahmanson: Big, bold, overly complicated and spectacularly unique," 17 May 2018 His band vamps a medley -- not a dull moment -- while Wilson changes outfits. Paul De Revere, Billboard, "David Byrne's Festival Debut & Charlie Wilson's Gospel Stand Out on Jazz Fest's Sunday," 30 Apr. 2018 Everyone would like to do only the interesting parts of a job and skip the unpleasant or dull tasks. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Project Veritas’ YouTube sting was deeply misleading — and successful," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 And the more aggrieved people are, the more their consciences are dulled. Dennis Prager, National Review, "Why So Many Mass Shootings?," 4 June 2019 Humanity’s access to space appears to have been changed forever, filling people with hope and revitalizing our sense of exploration that had been so dulled. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "In Defense of Elon Musk," 16 Oct. 2018 His loss in Queens to FAA dulls some of the excitement and curtails some of the momentum. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "2019 Wimbledon Seed Reports," 28 June 2019 But the climb up hasn’t dulled its sense of fun just yet. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Bored Charging Your Tesla? Play a Videogame Right in Your Car," 19 June 2019 The feeling brought on, not by tenderness, as from caress, but by the body having no choice but to accommodate pain by dulling it into an impossible, radiating pleasure. Viet Thanh Nguyen, Time, "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous," 6 June 2019 As the hospital’s only doctor cut away Conroy’s torn muscles and stapled his wounds, Conroy had to dull the pain with three cigarettes. Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, The New York Review of Books, "How Assad Made Truth a Casualty of War," 7 Sep. 2018 That skin-of-my-teeth sensation was dulled by landing mid-campaign with plenty of ammo in my pockets. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "The 16 surprising new games that made PAX West an absolute blast," 9 Sep. 2018

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

17 Jul 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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