\ 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 dull (audio) \ noun
dully \ ˈdə(l)-​lē How to pronounce dull (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 That part is fun, but all of the material getting in and out of these little moments feels a bit dull. Matthew Love, Vulture, "Saturday Night Live Recap: Maya Rudolph Channels Spring and Beyoncé’s Wet Head," 28 Mar. 2021 Picture quality has been excellent, with colors looking anything but dull. Jason Cipriani, CNN Underscored, "The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro offer an excellent Android experience for less," 26 Mar. 2021 What’s harder than not writing the downright decent dull? Matthew Carey Salyer, Forbes, "Marvel’s ‘Hellfire Gala’ Event: A Rococo Blend Of Superheroes And Haute Couture," 21 Mar. 2021 From the uncertainties provided by COVID-19, to the many possibilities for history to be made, Hollywood's biggest night should be anything but dull. Lauren Huff, EW.com, "Everything to know about the 2021 Oscars," 18 Mar. 2021 So as downtown began to empty out around the late 1930s, Hotel Cecil's 700 rooms (yeas, 700!) did too, and the lobby's elaborate, opulent materials went from shiny to dull. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "The True and Tragic Stories Beyond Hotel Cecil's Violent Fall From Grace," 10 Feb. 2021 But some people are turned off with the maintenance that is needed to keep your knives from turning dull. Erika Hardison, USA TODAY, "25 most popular kitchen products you can buy at QVC," 13 Nov. 2020 Hayden reports record attendance this year, people who want to swap that dull, pounding fear for something immersive and cinematic — to lose themselves in a storyline for a moment. Ted Anthony, Anchorage Daily News, "Halloween in 2020: Some fun with death and fear, anyone?," 27 Oct. 2020 In this way, dull skin is removed, revealing new, cleaner skin. Bryony Gilbey, chicagotribune.com, "How to make a face mask for skin," 20 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb By then, however, Prosper’s play appeared to dull slightly. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, "Soccer playoff roundup: Unbeaten Prosper passes area-round test; FM Marcus and Melissa advance," 29 Mar. 2021 When hearty winter vegetables are pureed into smooth, creamy soups, they’re often weighed down by too much butter or cream, which can dull the flavors. Christopher Kimball, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipes: Three creamy vegetable soups with a twist: no dairy necessary," 16 Mar. 2021 The formula intensely targets grey, brown, yellow, red, and violet chromatic disturbances that can dull skin's natural light and boosts the reflection of light from the skin, illuminating it. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, "Understanding Skincare That Will Make Your Feel Good Inside And Out.," 1 Mar. 2021 Depending on the materials used, these scrapers also tend to dull fairly quickly, especially on the end meant for heavy-duty ice work. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Best ice scraper: Hassle-free ways to get rid of snow and ice," 26 Feb. 2021 However, plastic cutting boards may dull your blade over time. Angela Watson, chicagotribune.com, "How to cook salmon," 5 Mar. 2021 The result can be a buildup of rust on the blade that can dull the edge, weaken the grind profile, and lead to failure in the rivets that hold the handle to the blade. Outdoor Life, "The Best Machete to Cut, Slash, and Bash through Anything," 19 Feb. 2021 Trying to cut a bone, snip herbs, or open a clamshell package with your sewing scissors will quickly dull the blades. Patricia S York, Southern Living, "Amazon Shoppers Call These Best-Selling Shears a Must-Have for Any Kitchen," 7 Feb. 2021 And as many people now know from personal experience, COVID-19 can dull these senses. Lisa Zwirn, BostonGlobe.com, "How taste and smell work (and why you really don’t want COVID-19 to take these senses away)," 26 Jan. 2021

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 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dull.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dull. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for dull



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 dull (audio) \ noun
dully \ ˈdəl-​ē How to pronounce dull (audio) \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on dull

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dull

Nglish: Translation of dull for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dull for Arabic Speakers

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