1

dumb

adjective \ ˈdəm \

Definition of dumb

1 a :lacking the human power of speech
  • dumb animals
b of a person, now often offensive :lacking the ability to speak
2 :temporarily unable to speak (as from shock or astonishment)
  • struck dumb with fear
3 :not expressed in uttered words
  • dumb grief
4 :silent
  • they were capable of sitting for hours, dumb and unabashed, over their pipes
  • —Ellen Glasgow
; also :taciturn
5 :lacking some usual attribute or accompaniment; especially :having no means of self-propulsion
  • a dumb barge
6 a :lacking intelligence :stupid
  • pretended to be dumb
b :showing a lack of intelligence
  • asking dumb questions
  • a dumb look on his face
c :requiring no intelligence
  • dumb luck
7 :not having the capability to process data
  • a dumb terminal
— compare intelligent 3a

dumbly

play \ˈdəm-lē\ adverb

dumbness

noun

Is the use of dumb offensive?

There is evidence that, when applied to persons who cannot speak, dumb has come to be considered offensive.


Examples of dumb in a Sentence

  1. I'm not dumb enough to believe that.

  2. It was a dumb idea in the first place.

  3. He just stood there with a dumb grin on his face.

  4. This is one of the dumbest TV shows I've ever seen.

  5. It was dumb luck that we found this place at all.

  6. His success is just a matter of dumb luck.

  7. He was born deaf and dumb.

Recent Examples of dumb from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dumb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of dumb

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German tumb mute

Synonym Discussion of dumb

stupid, dull, dense, crass, dumb mean lacking in power to absorb ideas or impressions. stupid implies a slow-witted or dazed state of mind that may be either congenital or temporary.
    • stupid students just keeping the seats warm
    • stupid with drink
dull suggests a slow or sluggish mind such as results from disease, depression, or shock.
    • monotonous work that leaves the mind dull
dense implies a thickheaded imperviousness to ideas.
    • too dense to take a hint
crass suggests a grossness of mind precluding discrimination or delicacy.
    • a crass, materialistic people
dumb applies to an exasperating obtuseness or lack of comprehension.
    • too dumb to figure out what's going on

2

dumb

verb

Definition of dumb

transitive verb
:to make silent :deaden
  • would lie around, dumbed by the drugs
  • —Norman Mailer

Examples of dumb in a Sentence

  1. the terrible news dumbed her for a long moment, and then she burst into tears

Recent Examples of dumb from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dumb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of dumb

see 1dumb

dumb Synonyms

Synonyms
silence, extinguish, hush, mute, quell, quiet, quieten [chiefly British], settle, shush, shut up, squelch, still
Near Antonyms
agitate, stir


DUMB Defined for Kids

dumb

adjective \ ˈdəm \

Definition of dumb for Students

dumber; dumbest
1 :lacking the power of human speech
  • dumb animals
2 often offensive :lacking the ability to speak Hint: In the past, this word was not considered offensive when used in this way. In recent years, however, many people have come to find it hurtful, and you may offend someone by using it.
3 :temporarily unable to speak (as from shock or surprise)
4 :stupid 1, foolish
  • There are no dumb questions.

dumbly

adverb

Medical Dictionary

dumb

adjective \ ˈdəm \

medical Definition of dumb

1 :lacking the human power of speech
  • dumb animals
2 of a person
often offensive :lacking the ability to speak

dumbly

play \ˈdəm-lē\ adverb

dumbness

noun


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