dummy

1 of 3

noun

dum·​my ˈdə-mē How to pronounce dummy (audio)
plural dummies
1
a
dated, offensive : a person who is incapable of speaking
b
: a person who is habitually silent
c
: a stupid person
He's no dummy.
She loves you, you dummy.
2
card games
a
: the exposed hand in bridge played by the declarer in addition to his or her own hand
b
: a bridge player whose hand is a dummy
3
: an imitation, copy, or likeness of something used as a substitute: such as
a
: mannequin
a crash test dummy
b
football : a stuffed figure or cylindrical bag used for tackling (see tackle entry 2 sense 1b) and blocking practice
c
entertainment : a large puppet usually having movable features (such as mouth and arms) manipulated by a ventriloquist
d
chiefly British : pacifier sense 2
4
: one seeming to act independently but in reality controlled by another
a dummy for the real store owner
5
printing
a
: a mock-up of a proposed publication (such as a book or magazine)
b
: a set of pages (as for a newspaper or magazine) with the position of text and artwork indicated for the printer (see printer sense a)

dummy

2 of 3

adjective

1
a
: having the appearance of being real : artificial
dummy foods in the display case
b
: existing in name only : fictitious
dummy corporations
2
: apparently acting for oneself while really acting for or at the direction of another
a dummy director

dummy

3 of 3

verb

dummied; dummying

transitive verb

publishing
: to make a dummy (see dummy entry 1 sense 5) of (something, such as a publication)
often used with up
dummied up the front page

Examples of dummy in a Sentence

Noun She loves you, you dummy. They practiced CPR on a dummy. The bomb was just a dummy. Adjective They took apart a dummy bomb. the dummy shutters on the house are actually made of vinyl and are for decoration only
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Each year, fire safety officials warn of the dangers of fireworks and stage demonstrations of dummies that catch fire and watermelons that explode. Linda Trischitta, Sun-Sentinel.com, 10 July 2017 Zuby said the Tesla Model S didn’t have a strong enough safety belt, and a dummy used to simulate a driver in the small overlap test moved too far forward during the crash, striking its head on the steering wheel. Diana Kruzman, USA TODAY, 6 July 2017 At NASA Langley's Landing and Impact Research Facility, ten crash test dummies were buckled into a section of airplane fuselage and dropped from the sky. Chris Clarke, Popular Mechanics, 6 July 2017 Nursing students practice clinical procedures using virtual reality and full-size dummies, including a birthing simulator named Lucina. Jennifer Lu, miamiherald, 12 June 2017 The American Heart Association employs a bunch of dummies. Jessica Roy, The Cut, 23 June 2017 While the group did 100 to 120 chest compressions a minute on CPR dummies, or 30 compressions and two breaths, Metro took photos with her phone and streamed the scene on Facebook Live. Victoria St. Martin, Washington Post, 5 July 2017 TV show host Ellen DeGeneres presented her a ventriloquist dummy named Stacy as a gift. David Frese, kansascity.com, 30 June 2017 Baig is the co-author of iPhone For Dummies, an independent work published by Wiley. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, 23 June 2017
Adjective
And in December, the labor-management committee revised the bulletins to address dummy rounds. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 7 Feb. 2024 In 2022, social media companies identified a fear-reaching campaign, run by the Pentagon, to use dummy social media accounts to spread propaganda targeted at Tehran, Beijing, and Moscow. Justin Ling, WIRED, 1 Feb. 2024 Five live rounds mixed in with dummy rounds were found on set following the shooting. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Jan. 2024 When West returned a club, the defense got another club plus two red-suit aces for down one, and West ate up the Little Pig out of sheer contempt for his dummy play. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, 22 Jan. 2024 Gutierrez Reed loaded the gun, which was supposed to contain only dummy rounds. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 17 Jan. 2024 In an earlier Rolling Stone report, former contestants alleged some players were pre-selected to move on to the next round, while others were given dummy microphones as cameras trained on other active characters. Kalia Richardson, Rolling Stone, 7 Dec. 2023 Far from towns and prying eyes, Ukrainian instructors launch dummy drones. Oleksiy Pshemyskiy, ABC News, 25 Nov. 2023 But law enforcement officials said that the movie’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, had in fact loaded it with five dummy rounds and one round of live ammunition. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, 25 Nov. 2023
Verb
South can lead a club to dummy at Trick Two to finesse in hearts. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, 5 Feb. 2024 Later, South leads his four of diamonds to dummy’s eight and runs the suit for nine tricks in all. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, 24 Jan. 2024 The sequence was set up as Bobby Wood dummied a pass from DeJuan Jones, Bou was held onside by right back Shaq Moore. Frank Dell'apa, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Mar. 2023 January 26, 2023 Mills, who was elected in November to succeed Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy after her district was redrawn to become heavily Republican, also gained notoriety last month for giving his fellow members dummy grenades. Steven Lemongello, Orlando Sentinel, 3 Feb. 2023 To gain regulatory approval, a drug is normally tested in costly large-scale trials encompassing a large number of people — with about half getting a placebo, or dummy pill — to prove the treatment actually works. Discover Staff, Discover Magazine, 16 Feb. 2014 Tehran soon blocked access to the Starlink website, and dummy activation links containing malware were planted in the Iranian Twittersphere in an apparent attempt to lure anti-government protesters. Omid Khazani and Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 28 Sep. 2022 Gens decided to build a viable moose crash test dummy that car manufacturers could use in their safety R&D, partnering with Saab in Trollhättan, which supplied two test vehicles for crash test purposes. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 15 Sep. 2022 After a bit of 3D modeling, Gens constructed his moose crash test dummy out of 116 rubber plates augmented with various steel parts to hold everything together. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 15 Sep. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun, Adjective, and Verb

dumb entry 1 + -y entry 4

First Known Use

Noun

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

circa 1928, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dummy was in 1598

Dictionary Entries Near dummy

Cite this Entry

“Dummy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dummy. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

dummy

1 of 2 noun
dum·​my ˈdəm-ē How to pronounce dummy (audio)
plural dummies
1
: a person who lacks or seems to lack the power of speech
2
: a stupid person
3
: an imitation used as a substitute for something: as
b
: a large puppet usually having movable features (as mouth and arms) controlled by a ventriloquist
4
a
: the bridge hand of the partner of the player who wins the bid that is placed face up and played by the bid winner
b
: a bridge player whose hand is a dummy

dummy

2 of 2 adjective
1
: having the appearance of being real but lacking ability to function
dummy hinges for ornament
2
: existing in name only : fictitious
a dummy corporation

Medical Definition

dummy

1 of 2 noun
dum·​my ˈdəm-ē How to pronounce dummy (audio)
plural dummies
1
: a horse lacking the ability to respond to ordinary stimuli because of cerebral damage especially following encephalomyelitis
2
: pontic
3

dummy

2 of 2 adjective
: being a placebo
those who unknowingly receive a dummy pill instead of the real thingNicholas Wade

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