mute

adjective
\ˈmyüt \
muter; mutest

Definition of mute 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1 : unable to speak : lacking the power of speech

2 : characterized by absence of speech: such as

a : felt or experienced but not expressed touched her hand in mute sympathy her mute hostility

b : refusing to plead directly or stand trial the prisoner stands mute

3 : remaining silent, undiscovered, or unrecognized The hounds generally hunt mute, so they can get close to the game.

4a : contributing nothing to the pronunciation of a word the b in plumb is mute

b : contributing to the pronunciation of a word but not representing the nucleus of a syllable the e in mate is mute

mute

noun

Definition of mute (Entry 2 of 4)

2 sometimes offensive : a person who cannot speak

3 : a device attached to or inserted into a musical instrument to soften or alter its tone

mute

verb (1)
muted; muting

Definition of mute (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to muffle, reduce, or eliminate the sound of

2 : to tone down : soften, subdue mute a color

mute

verb (2)
muted; muting

Definition of mute (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

of a bird

: to evacuate the cloaca

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Other Words from mute

Adjective

mutely adverb
muteness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for mute

Synonyms: Adjective

dumb, mum, muted, silent, speechless, uncommunicative, wordless

Synonyms: Noun

damper

Antonyms: Adjective

communicative, speaking, talking

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Examples of mute in a Sentence

Adjective

They hugged each other in mute sympathy. I could see a mute plea for help in his eyes.

Noun

I was practicing my trumpet at three in the morning when the mute fell out, and I managed to wake everyone up.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Her on-set blowups were so legendary that staffers in the newsroom would sometimes turn on the monitors and watch the unfolding drama on mute for fun. Gabriel Sherman, The Hive, "“You Don’t Attack a Kid”: Inside the Laura Ingraham Nightmare at Fox News," 5 Apr. 2018 Both of Frederick’s twin 13-year-old daughters have special needs, but Shealyn can become mute in public. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "North Carolina mom 'moved to tears' by police officers' act of kindness toward daughter with autism," 6 July 2018 Avila, who is mute, pointed to classmate Robert Garcia — who responded by jokingly placing Avila in a chokehold. Krista Torralva, San Antonio Express-News, "SAPD bike officers teach mechanics to special needs students," 15 May 2018 While Finkelstein’s office had no comment on Thursday’s development, the decision to stand mute allows the defense to proceed without appearing to claim to the public, the victims or the court that Cruz did not commit the crime. Rafael Olmeda, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Cruz withdraws not guilty plea, 'stands mute' on school shooting charges," 9 Mar. 2018 Nothing that these two mute women did for the next 40 minutes was as striking or thought-through as the setup. Brian Seibert, New York Times, "At River to River Festival, Dancing Amid the Mundane and Majestic," 17 June 2018 Instagram's Questions Sticker has only existed for 48 hours, but it's already been branded a mute-able offense. Madeline Buxton, refinery29.com, ""Ask Me A Question" Is Not The Only Way To Use Instagram's Questions Sticker," 12 July 2018 The fictional biography includes Castle being bullied by classmates for being deaf and mute. Washington Post, "Agreement reached to end children’s book infringement case," 27 June 2018 The most effective way to transform culture and mute divisiveness is through continued constructive dialogue. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "Hate mail reinforces the gender divide in the car business," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This program allows a customer to put the phone on mute and patch telemarketing calls to a robot, which understands speech patterns and inflections and works to keep the caller engaged. Christopher Mele, New York Times, "Robocalls Flooding Your Cellphone? Here’s How to Stop Them," 11 May 2017 Instead Fisher jogged into the dugout, his enthusiasm mute, akin to if this — a home-run robbery to keep a tie game intact — was routine. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros return to standard operating procedure in win over Mariners," 19 Apr. 2018 His microphone stays on mute for more than a minute before the footage ends. Anita Chabria, Emily Zenter, Ryan Lillis, Nashelly Chavez, Ellen Garrison And Molly Sullivan, sacbee, "New Stephon Clark videos raise questions about time taken to render medical aid | The Sacramento Bee," 16 Apr. 2018 Directed by Jeff Baena, the film picks up when a hunky groundskeeper (Dave Franco), who’s introduced to the wild girls as a deaf mute to keep them at bay, arrives on the premises. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "What’s on TV Tuesday: ‘Roseanne’ and ‘Splitting Up Together’," 27 Mar. 2018 The scene Bright white walls, neon blue signage, a soccer match (Peru versus Iceland) playing on mute, and customers chatting vivaciously in Spanish. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, "Celeste in Union Square is small, loud, and happy," 5 Apr. 2018 All the while, Fox News played on mute above his head, its chyrons questioning whether Sessions was about to be fired. Molly Ball, Time, "Jeff Sessions Is Winning for Donald Trump. If Only He Can Keep His Job," 29 Mar. 2018 Standing mute has the same immediate effect as a not guilty plea — Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer will most likely enter a not guilty plea on the defendant’s behalf when he is formally arraigned, a hearing scheduled for March 14. Rafael Olmeda, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Cruz withdraws not guilty plea, 'stands mute' on school shooting charges," 9 Mar. 2018 The film follows Sally Hawkins as a mute who falls for an anthropomorphized amphibian in Cold War-era Baltimore. Matt Miller, Esquire, "A Genre-Defying Love Story Between a Woman and an Amphibian Is This Year's Best Picture," 5 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That hasn't muted Trump's criticism of the players. Z. Byron Wolf, CNN, "Trump's idea to pardon Muhammad Ali is weird and beside the point," 8 June 2018 Byrne is muted, but that's a function of his character. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Hereditary:' 127 minutes of pure horror," 7 June 2018 Outdoors, even with a pop music soundtrack playing, the sound is muted. Tim Smith, baltimoresun.com, "Festive drinks, fetching views give food a boost at 16 on the Park," 3 May 2018 Kate Moore, Blackrock’s chief equity strategist, says trade tensions have played a major role in muting the markets. Matthew Heimer, Fortune, "Here’s What the World’s Biggest Investor Thinks the Markets Will Do Next," 9 July 2018 For four innings, the Phillies were muted by Orioles rookie Yefry Ramirez. Scott Lauber, Philly.com, "Phillies top Orioles as Aaron Nola delivers another ace-worthy outing," 4 July 2018 There, his defense of the First Amendment was muted at best. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "Justice Kennedy Surrendered to Donald Trump," 27 June 2018 The reaction of other markets was muted by comparison. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "What to Make of Italy’s Astonishing Bond Moves," 30 May 2018 Some critics say that deal hurts consumers, by effectively muting what could be and has been a powerful voice on behalf of ratepayers. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "IPL wants to raise rates, but the City won't be able to weigh in or stop them — here's why," 4 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

His response to his brother’s conviction was muted. The Economist, "Pakistan’s former prime minister embraces jail to rally his party," 12 July 2018 For four innings, the Phillies were muted by Orioles rookie Yefry Ramirez. Scott Lauber, Philly.com, "Phillies top Orioles as Aaron Nola delivers another ace-worthy outing," 4 July 2018 Criticism against women driving has largely been muted since since King Salman announced last year that they would be allowed to drive. NBC News, "Saudi Arabia's longstanding ban on women driving officially ends," 24 June 2018 So far, the impact of the administration’s trade policies has been muted. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "How to Spot the First Signs Tariffs Are Starting to Bite," 15 June 2018 Byrne is muted, but that's a function of his character. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Hereditary:' 127 minutes of pure horror," 7 June 2018 White cabinets balance muted Obsidian granite countops and a midnight blue island, where tall blue-and-white-striped chairs offer seating. John-john Williams Iv, Howard County Times, "Dia Simms, president of Sean 'Diddy' Combs' business empire, relishes her bright, airy Ellicott City home," 6 June 2018 This show of independence privately irritated congressional Republicans, but they've been muted in pushing back publicly for fear of alienating the Kochs. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "David Koch leaving Koch Industries, conservative political network," 5 June 2018 To mute an account, simply tap the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of a post from that account or its profile page. Madeline Buxton, refinery29.com, "You Can Finally Hide Your Ex's Instagram Posts Without Unfollowing Them," 22 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mute.' 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 mute

Adjective

1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

1883, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mute

Adjective

Middle English muet, mut, from Anglo-French, from mu, mute, from Latin mutus, probably from mu, representation of a muttered sound

Noun

see mute entry 1

Verb (1)

see mute entry 1

Verb (2)

Middle English, from Anglo-French *meutir, short for ameutir, alteration of Old French esmeltir, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle Dutch smelten to melt, make fluid, defecate (of birds)

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Learn More about mute

Dictionary Entries near mute

mutawalli

mutch

mutchkin

mute

muted

mute of malice

mutessarif

Statistics for mute

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mute

The first known use of mute was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for mute

mute

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of mute

: not able or willing to speak

: felt or expressed without the use of words

mute

adjective
\ˈmyüt \
muter; mutest

Kids Definition of mute

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : unable or unwilling to speak The shy boy sat mute through class.

2 : felt or expressed without the use of words He touched her hand in mute sympathy.

mute

noun

Kids Definition of mute (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a person who cannot or does not speak

2 : a device on a musical instrument that deadens, softens, or muffles its tone

mute

verb
muted; muting

Kids Definition of mute (Entry 3 of 3)

: to soften or reduce the sound of We muted our voices.

mute

adjective
\ˈmyüt \
muter; mutest

Medical Definition of mute 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: unable to speak : lacking the power of speech

Other Words from mute

muteness noun

mute

noun

Medical Definition of mute (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who cannot or does not speak

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Comments on mute

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