dumb down


dumbed down; dumbing down; dumbs down

transitive verb

: to lower the level of difficulty and the intellectual content of (something, such as a textbook)
also : to lower the general level of intelligence in
the dumbing down of society

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web But Jason didn’t dumb down any of his writing. New York Times, 15 Aug. 2022 His knack for skewering Broadway’s smash hits and for commenting on its craven tendencies to dumb down for and rip off its customers is unparalleled. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Apr. 2022 Angela Merkel, chancellor when the pandemic started, holds a doctorate in quantum chemistry and refused to dumb down science while addressing the public. Lenora Chu, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Feb. 2022 Yet the Biden Administration is mounting a regulatory assault on business, while progressives dumb down math and science with a woke curriculum. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 2 Feb. 2022 Often imitated, never duplicated, Madden had an uncanny ability to dumb down the game of football and all its nuances. Los Angeles Times, 31 Dec. 2021 In fact, the participants are so knowledgeable and articulate, and Stewart so determined not to dumb down their messages, that these might turn out to be the most consistently engaging segments of the show. Judy Berman, Time, 30 Sep. 2021 Their high standards make AP courses difficult to dumb down without producing low scores. Washington Post, 8 May 2021 Specifically, Google has developed a software feature that allows devices to dumb down the Smart TV they’re connected to. Chris Smith, BGR, 25 Feb. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dumb down.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1933, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dumb down was in 1933

Dictionary Entries Near dumb down

Cite this Entry

“Dumb down.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dumb%20down. Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on dumb down

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!