dum·​my | \ ˈdə-mē How to pronounce dummy (audio) \
plural dummies

Definition of dummy

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a 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)



Definition of dummy (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : 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


dummied; dummying

Definition of dummy (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: 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

Synonyms & Antonyms for dummy

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Oak Creek Fire Department has a new member named HOSE-A. Made out of old rubber fire hose, HOSE-A, named in part by the community, is a training dummy firefighters can use during drills for various scenarios. Erik S. Hanley, Journal Sentinel, 4 Aug. 2022 An internal experiment conducted by Facebook in 2019 showed similarly disastrous results when creating a dummy account in India, The Washington Post reported last year. Emily Dreibelbis, PCMAG, 1 Aug. 2022 This happens almost every year, with some accessory makers likely using these dummy units and metal molds to create screen protectors and cases in time for the new iPhone release. Chris Smith, BGR, 18 July 2022 One dummy client, called Shipmates, was a sustainable packaging company that wanted my followers to sign up for its newsletter. Wired, 15 July 2022 Worse, the move tacitly threatened anyone wanting to sidestep the rules by creating a dummy Facebook account. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 9 July 2022 Common issues include hashing bad or dummy emails, hashing blanks and trimming emails before hashing. Nancy Marzouk, Forbes, 7 July 2022 The men inflated more than 600 dummy vehicles, transmitted false radio dispatches and blared simulated sounds of soldiers building pontoon boats, enabling the Ninth to enter Germany with little resistance. Kellie B. Gormly, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 July 2022 Much of his business dealings were obscured through a complex web of shell or dummy corporations, which have been used in China to hide the ownership stakes of public officials. Amy Qin, BostonGlobe.com, 4 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Earlier this year, the company successfully tested the methodology with a stage 1 mass simulator, or dummy booster. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 27 Apr. 2022 Gutierrez-Reed, 24, claims Seth Kenney's company PDQ Arm and Prop, LLC supplied a mix of live and dummy ammunition prior to the fatal shooting that took the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. Alexia Fernández, PEOPLE.com, 12 Jan. 2022 Baldwin said accidental discharges of blanks or dummy rounds on film and television sets are common. Lucien Bruggeman, ABC News, 2 Dec. 2021 The tragedy triggered an industry call for tighter safety standards on-set, including eliminating the use of real guns and dummy rounds of any kind. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2021 The study involved 4,753 children ages 6 to 11 who got either the vaccine or dummy shots. Lauran Neergaard, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Oct. 2021 Mike Tristano, a veteran armorer, or movie weapons specialist, was alarmed to hear that live rounds were mixed in with blanks and dummy rounds. Anchorage Daily News, 27 Oct. 2021 Mike Tristano, a veteran armorer, or movie weapons specialist, was alarmed to hear that live rounds were mixed in with blanks and dummy rounds. BostonGlobe.com, 27 Oct. 2021 The study included 4,753 kids ages 6 to 11, who got either the vaccine or dummy shots. Lauran Neergaard, chicagotribune.com, 25 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of dummy


1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1928, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dummy

Noun, Adjective, and Verb

dumb entry 1 + -y entry 4

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Dictionary Entries Near dummy



dummy duck

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Statistics for dummy

Cite this Entry

“Dummy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dummy. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for dummy


dum·​my | \ ˈdə-mē How to pronounce dummy (audio) \
plural dummies

Kids Definition of dummy

1 : something shaped like a human a clothes store dummy
2 : a doll used in a ventriloquist's act
3 : a stupid person


dum·​my | \ ˈdəm-ē How to pronounce dummy (audio) \
plural dummies

Medical Definition of dummy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a horse lacking the ability to respond to ordinary stimuli because of cerebral damage especially following encephalomyelitis
2 : pontic
3 : placebo



Medical Definition of dummy (Entry 2 of 2)

: being a placebo those who unknowingly receive a dummy pill instead of the real thing— Nicholas Wade

More from Merriam-Webster on dummy

Nglish: Translation of dummy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dummy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dummy


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