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 updummied up the front page

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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
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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, "3 boys hurt, one loses hand, in fireworks accident, official says," 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, "Three big cars get top IIHS crash rating -- not Tesla," 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, "Airline Crash Test Dummies Live a Tough Life," 6 July 2017 Nursing students practice clinical procedures using virtual reality and full-size dummies, including a birthing simulator named Lucina. Jennifer Lu, miamiherald, "From prosthetic hands to bands that jam, innovations shine at eMerge Americas," 12 June 2017 The American Heart Association employs a bunch of dummies. Jessica Roy, The Cut, "This Week in Drama: Drake vs. Josh, Spicer Fat-Shamed, and the Great CIA Snack Scandal," 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, "This Md. mom’s son nearly drowned. Now she’s made it a mission to help people learn CPR.," 5 July 2017 TV show host Ellen DeGeneres presented her a ventriloquist dummy named Stacy as a gift. David Frese, kansascity.com, "Amazing Macey: How a 7-year-old Kansas girl became a beloved presidential star," 30 June 2017 Baig is the co-author of iPhone For Dummies, an independent work published by Wiley. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "What the first iPhone tells us about tech's future," 23 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That gave rise to the current system of blindly and randomly allocating some patients to a dummy pill and some to an experimental treatment. Robert Langreth, Bloomberg.com, "A Fast-Moving Virus Pits Treating Patients Against Finding a Cure," 8 May 2020 Nursing student Tiffany Bonham with a dummy patient at Azusa Adult School. Los Angeles Times, "California loosens nursing student rules in response to coronavirus crisis," 4 Apr. 2020 Slightly more patients getting Amarin’s drug had an irregular heartbeat than those taking the dummy capsules, but other side effects were minor. Washington Post, "US approves fish oil-based drug for cutting heart risks," 13 Dec. 2019 The idea is to knock the dummy out of the way, then pick up the bag or ball with one hand without stopping. Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, "Handley 2021 DE Dylan Brooks describes what he likes about Alabama, Auburn, others," 10 Apr. 2020 Neither the patients, the physicians, nor people who will assess the results at the end of the project will know which patients got the actual medication, and which patients got a dummy pill. NBC News, "'No miraculous recovery': Some ICU doctors say hydroxychloroquine isn't helping sickest patients," 26 Mar. 2020 Forget the old trick of putting a fake dummy in the car. Dallas News, "It’s easy to cheat a new system that offers half-price discounts for drivers on our HOV lanes," 5 Mar. 2020 If your dog likes to retrieve anything, a ball or training dummy or whatever, that’s the game. Mike Hanback, Outdoor Life, "18 Best Tips For Finding Your First Shed Antler," 24 Mar. 2020 To test how well existing military helmets protect against these injuries, scientists from Duke University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering positioned helmets on dummy heads fitted with sensors. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Researchers Find a Flaw in Modern Military Helmets," 21 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At the end of the second half, Riyad Mahrez shaped the ball onto his right foot, dummied inside and finished beautifully to seal all three points for Leicester. SI.com, "Leicester 3-1 Arsenal: Fantastic Foxes Secure 1st Premier League Victory Against Gunners Since 1994," 9 May 2018 West threw a heart — another chance gone — and dummy won. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, "Bridge: Sept. 19, 2019," 19 Sep. 2019 East took the ace and returned a heart, and declarer won and next led a club to dummy to return a trump, finessing with his jack. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, "Bridge: Sept. 20, 2019," 20 Sep. 2019 De Bruyne sprayed it wide for Thomas Meunier, whose cross was dummied by Romelu Lukaku into the path of Chadli, who beat Eiji Kawashima from close range for the winner. Nihal Kolur, SI.com, "WATCH: Chadli Goal In 94th Minute Caps Belgium Comeback vs. Japan," 2 July 2018 With the match seemingly headed for extra time and possibly penalties, a late counter from the Red Devils culminated in a Romelu Lukaku dummy that left Nacer Chadli to slot home unmarked and break Japanese hearts. SI.com, "Liverpool Fans Keen on Former Man Utd Star After Host of Standout World Cup Performances," 3 July 2018 Belgium went up the other end as De Bruyne led the charge, and the ball went into Lukaku who dummied to tee up Chadli, who tapped home to send Belgium into the quarter-finals. SI.com, "Belgium 3-2 Japan: Red Devils Secure Place in Last 8 After Amazing Comeback Win," 2 July 2018 Gerso Fernandes elected to dummy the ball, setting up Gutierrez to rip the game-winner. Sam Mcdowell, kansascity, "Sporting KC newcomers score three, club wins wild one in Chicago for first 2018 win | The Kansas City Star," 10 Mar. 2018 Spurs came even closer in the 58th minute when Son cut inside from the right hand side this time, dummied his way past two Everton defenders and smashed the ball against the base of the post. SI.com, "Tottenham 4-0 Everton: Harry Kane Breaks Spurs Scoring Record in Comfortable Victory," 13 Jan. 2018

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.

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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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Time Traveler for dummy

Time Traveler

The first known use of dummy was in 1598

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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 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for dummy


How to pronounce dummy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dummy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

chiefly US, informal : a stupid person
: a doll that is shaped like and is as large as a person
: a copy of a finished object that is used during practice or training



English Language Learners Definition of dummy (Entry 2 of 2)

: looking real but not functioning or able to be used


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



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dummy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dummy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dummy

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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