mute

1 of 4

adjective

muter; mutest
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.
4
a
: 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
mutely adverb
muteness noun

mute

2 of 4

noun

plural mutes
1
: a device attached to or inserted into a musical instrument to soften or alter its tone
2
3
dated, offensive : a person who lacks the ability to speak

mute

3 of 4

verb (1)

muted; muting

transitive verb

1
: to muffle, reduce, or eliminate the sound of
2
: to tone down : soften, subdue
mute a color

mute

4 of 4

verb (2)

muted; muting

intransitive verb

of a bird
: to evacuate the cloaca

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. Verb (1) muted the television while she was on the phone closing the windows muted the traffic noise so we could get to sleep
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
During the 2020 debates, Trump’s interruptions of Biden caused the latter’s campaign to push for the ability for moderators to mute interruptions. Jack Birle, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 27 June 2024 Another is that the mute button could actually benefit Trump — by tamping down the aggressiveness that rubs some people the wrong way, according to Jon McHenry, a Republican pollster with North Star Opinion Research. Franco Ordoñez, NPR, 26 June 2024
Noun
After accidentally starting a wildfire, 7-year-old Lu, mute and from an abusive home, slyly tricks Merribelle, a hardworking trans woman, into kidnapping her — sparking a beautifully unexpected bond with a devastating expiration date. Vulture, 12 Dec. 2022 After accidentally starting a wildfire, 7-year-old Lu, mute and from an abusive home, slyly tricks Merribelle, a hardworking trans woman, into kidnapping her – sparking a beautifully unexpected bond with a devastating expiration date. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Dec. 2022
Verb
With homeowners unwilling to give up their low effective rates, the supply of existing homes has been tight and this year’s spring selling season has been muted. Kris Nagel, Fortune, 1 July 2024 In the course of the 90-minute debate, Trump managed to offend Blacks, Hispanics and Palestinians even though his microphone was muted half the time. Leonard Greene, New York Daily News, 30 June 2024
Verb
Some days, Aalayah Eastmond asks friends to mute the television so the sound of gunshots won’t frighten her. Sun Sentinel, 13 Feb. 2023 Facebook attempted to mute the majority of political posts in its efforts to avoid controversy, according to internal documents. Christopher Hutton, Washington Examiner, 5 Jan. 2023 See all Example Sentences for mute 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mute.' 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

Adjective, Noun, and Verb (1)

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

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)

First Known Use

Adjective

1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb (1)

1883, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near mute

Cite this Entry

“Mute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mute. Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

mute

1 of 3 adjective
muter; mutest
1
: unable to speak
2
: felt but not expressed in words
mute sympathy
3
: not pronounced : silent
the mute "b" in "thumb"
mutely adverb
muteness noun

mute

2 of 3 noun
1
offensive : a person who cannot or does not speak
used especially in the past
2
: a device attached to or inserted into a musical instrument to reduce, soften, or muffle its tone
3

mute

3 of 3 verb
muted; muting
1
: to muffle or reduce the sound of
2
: to tone down
muted his criticism

Medical Definition

mute

1 of 2 adjective
muter; mutest
: unable to speak : lacking the power of speech
muteness noun

mute

2 of 2 noun
dated, offensive : a person who lacks the ability to speak

More from Merriam-Webster on mute

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