\ 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 With his long leathery neck, dull-yellow face and beady eyes, there’s just something about Diego. Aimee Ortiz, BostonGlobe.com, "Diego, the tortoise whose high sex drive helped save his species, retires," 12 Jan. 2020 The main character, Emma Bovary, has devoured romantic novels and is disillusioned by a provincial existence that has proven dull. Susanna Lee, The Conversation, "We’re living in the bizarre world that Flaubert envisioned," 10 Jan. 2020 Fortunately, this Niki Caro–directed live-action version looks only distantly related to its forebear, unlike other dull CGI re-creations such as last year’s The Lion King. David Sims, The Atlantic, "25 Movies to Look Forward to in 2020," 7 Jan. 2020 Turns out, Alabama’s death data is unreliable, for a bunch of dull reasons. Anna Claire Vollers | Avollers@al.com, al, "7 things I learned from spending a year reporting on mothers in Alabama," 26 Dec. 2019 When the wings are viewed from above, the scales reflect available light directly, like a dull mirror. Harini Barath, Scientific American, "Nocturnal Moth Species Has a Flashy Secret," 23 Dec. 2019 Dry skin looks dull af, so hydrate your face at least once a day with a good moisturizer. 5. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Here's How To Get Beautiful Glowing Skin Overnight," 1 Oct. 2019 The juvenile starlings in the tray looked small, dark and … dull. New York Times, "Sydney Is for the Birds. The Bigger and Bolder, the Better.," 21 Sep. 2019 This can make the skin look dull and scars can take longer to fade. Talia Abbas, SELF, "I Had a Dermatologist Critique My Skin-Care Routine—and Here's What I'm Changing," 20 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The red and white stripes on the archway, once as striking as the Golden Gate Bridge, have dulled significantly over time. Peter Hartlaub, SFChronicle.com, "A love letter to Hunters Point crane, the most underrated Bay Area landmark," 8 Jan. 2020 Eventually, the teeth can be dulled (and not resharpened). Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "Zest up your everyday cooking with a rasp-style grater," 15 Nov. 2019 Once dulled, Iorek was taken advantage of by the townsfolk, who stole his armor. Nick Romano, EW.com, "His Dark Materials digi-dictionary: Your guide to the HBO series multiverse," 3 Nov. 2019 And all of a sudden, the ringing of Carpenter’s car dulls to low roar. Nathan Brown, Indianapolis Star, "Ed Carpenter's unique vision created an IndyCar veteran. Now, he's driven by one thing: a 500 win," 28 Oct. 2019 Having a chairman-CEO dulls the checks and balances of corporate governance. The Economist, "Emissions and omissions," 18 Oct. 2019 There is something thrilling, not dulled, in the very honesty of the film, and in the vigor with which feelings, expressed at any age, can strike us like a slap in the face. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“Pain and Glory” Tells Autumnal Truths," 4 Oct. 2019 Cold brew Oatmeal Biscuit dough Heat dulls the flavor of vanilla extract. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, "What is Vanilla (And Why Is It Sooo Expensive)?," 24 Dec. 2019 In recent years, Webby has taken an interest in hot yoga, which doesn’t seem to have quieted his mind down terribly or dulled his dexterity with jamming syllables together. John Adamian, courant.com, "CT rapper Chris Webby playing annual Black Friday show at Toad’s Place," 22 Nov. 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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dull.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dulness. Accessed 17 January 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

Comments on dull

What made you want to look up dull? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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