\ ˈmyüt How to pronounce mute (audio) \
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



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
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
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


mutely adverb
muteness noun

Synonyms for mute

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

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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 Coaches and general managers all have mute buttons for their feeds, and they weren’t being pressed. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, "Give us unscripted laughs, dogs and crazy uncles, NFL Draft," 23 Apr. 2020 Cruz stood mute last year when he was asked for a plea — refusing to admit or deny guilt. Rafael Olmeda, sun-sentinel.com, "Parkland shooter can’t keep visitor list secret," 15 Aug. 2019 One driver tried changing the audio sources, hitting the mute button, and turning off the system's power. Eric Tingwall, Car and Driver, "Our Ram 1500 Shines as a Luxurious, Go-Anywhere Snow Machine," 28 Jan. 2020 With their devices on mute, many members held up their hands in the shape of a heart to communicate support for whoever was speaking. Sarah Klein, Health.com, "People Living With Chronic Pain Are Turning to This Support Group for Help," 16 Sep. 2019 Today, Moana was bidding her dying grandmother farewell, on mute, while Dr. F frowned over my incisors. Summer Block, Longreads, "Better Late," 23 Aug. 2019 Wall Street remained largely mute on the data, which comes at the end of a wild week in which markets were rocked by a rate cut and a surprise announcement on tariffs. NBC News, "Economy added 164,000 jobs in July," 2 Aug. 2019 Since then, as investigations of Mr. Poroshenko have become more overtly political, and the European Union has publicly objected, the Trump administration has remained mute. Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, "Ukraine Is Threatening to Arrest Its Former President," 28 Feb. 2020 The city, on the other hand, remains mute: Interim city attorney Chris Caso said there would be no comment. Robert Wilonsky, Dallas News, "Dallas on the hook for at least $23 million after jury sides with gas-drillers who never got city’s OK to frack," 7 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But after midnight, on my laptop, Guimarães flipped over one named card and then another and another and another and another until each window showed one or more spectators, collectively losing their minds on mute. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "Is the Hand Quicker Than the Zoom Window?," 15 May 2020 Version seven, featuring the dazzling Venezuelan singer Ahyvin Bruno, may be their best yet—a Cuban son, an Afro-Caribbean style, on which Stroink and Boltó play trumpet and trombone with cup mutes. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, "The Boys Making Beautiful Quarantine Songs on a Barcelona Rooftop," 25 Mar. 2020 It's got Mad Max: Fury Road vibes all over it, minus a mute Tom Hardy. Bianca Rodriguez, Marie Claire, "'Parasite' Is Coming to Hulu," 3 Apr. 2020 One 2016 survey found that as much as 85% of all video views on Facebook were with the sound off, and a 2019 study showed that the vast majority of videos consumed on mobile devices are watched on mute. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "How Deaf Advocates Won the Battle for Closed Captioning and Changed the Way Americans Watch TV," 16 Mar. 2020 Many forgot to hit mute when their teachers were talking, making things a bit chaotic at first. Karen Weise, New York Times, "Remote Learning Comes to America as Coronavirus Shuts Schools," 10 Mar. 2020 For much of his first year at Washington State, Thompson was borderline mute, speaking only when asked a question. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Klay being Klay? Thompson’s quirky personality emerged at Washington State," 17 Jan. 2020 Jeenah Moon for The New York Times Maria Davila lay mute in a nursing home bed, an anguished expression fixed to her face, as her husband stroked her withered hand. Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, "Nursing Homes Are a Breeding Ground for a Fatal Fungus," 6 Apr. 2019 Patrolling servers are happy to advise on cooking times and flavor combinations, fetch another beer and comment on the sight of customers who are so busy cooking and slurping, conversation is put on mute. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Cold-weather comforts: 5 restaurants that are easy to warm up to," 11 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Moderators will soon be equipped with new tolls that will allow to mute audio or change footage to black and white. TheWeek, "Facebook reaches 'landmark' settlement with moderators who may have developed PTSD on the job," 12 May 2020 At least no one forgot to mute while flushing a toilet, as happened the other day during a telephonic court hearing. Peter Baker, New York Times, "A Spaniel, a Mute Button and Profound Matters of State," 12 May 2020 Google Meet lets up to 100 people video chat, with features like live captioning, screen sharing, and controls for the host to mute or eject participants. Danielle Abril, Fortune, "Google takes a shot at Zoom by offering free video conferencing," 29 Apr. 2020 Organizers also have strong controls that allows them to mute, eject, or deny entry to certain participants. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Google Meet is now free for everyone, as the pursuit of Zoom continues," 29 Apr. 2020 The public could call in to listen, but Kemp had to remind people several times to mute their phones. Lorraine Longhi, azcentral, "Scottsdale City Council candidate Becca Linnig survives election challenge by 2 signatures," 27 Apr. 2020 Re-emergence of Dion Waiters and emergence of Tyler Herro could turn upgrade focus from the perimeter rotation to elsewhere on the roster (which could further mute any Paul speculation). Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Winderman: Don’t be lulled into sense of Heat complacency | Commentary," 28 July 2019 But there are also deeper forces that are muting the earnings boom. The Economist, "After years of plenty America Inc is struggling to crank out more earnings," 18 July 2019 If Fahrenheit was subtle, each degree a minor shift in temperature, then Celsius was, above all, a kind of blunt instrument that could mute perception. Matthew Kassel, New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: Celsius," 28 Feb. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Its cast of a half-dozen imaginary activists (fighting for what, we’re never told) appeared and vanished from the grid, overlapping and interrupting each other, muting and unmuting — everyone battling for screen time, vying to lead the leaderless. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, "Covid-era opera is getting more intimate, accessible and experimental," 6 May 2020 In South Korea, refiners have been asking for access to public tank space due to muted demand, the people said. Sharon Cho, Bloomberg.com, "South Korea Out of Onshore Oil Storage for Third-Party Lease," 28 Apr. 2020 Some of the lawmakers’ challenges are exactly the ones constituents are facing — staying connected to relatives who can’t safely visit, juggling child care and homeschooling with work, even learning how to mute and unmute conference calls. Tal Kopan, SFChronicle.com, "Facing coronavirus pandemic, Bay Area members of Congress learn to work from home," 5 Apr. 2020 Users are new to the platform might not know how to mute and unmute themselves as well as allow video. Briana Rice, Cincinnati.com, "5 tips on how to host a Virtual Happy Hour during quarantine," 3 Apr. 2020 Meeting organizers eventually muted and removed the intruder but only after more than half of the participants had left. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Security tips every teacher and professor needs to know about Zoom, right now," 2 Apr. 2020 When, in the following year, Williams and Corrigan were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the official reaction in Belfast was muted. Philip Terzian, Washington Examiner, "Betty Williams, 1943-2020," 26 Mar. 2020 Reaction to the virus had been relatively muted in credit markets, where yields on even riskier junk bonds and loans had remained below levels seen during the selloff in late 2018. Paul J. Davies, WSJ, "Corporate Debt Engulfed by Market Turbulence," 6 Mar. 2020 The connections are not good and the leader has to remind people to mute their phones. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, "Prayer calls and pet therapy: How seniors stay connected in a pandemic," 13 Apr. 2020

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


1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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, 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)

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Time Traveler for mute

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for mute

Last Updated

8 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mute. Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for mute

How to pronounce mute (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mute

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not able or willing to speak
: felt or expressed without the use of words



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

sometimes offensive : a person who cannot speak
: a device on a musical instrument (such as a trumpet) that makes its sound much softer
\ ˈmyüt How to pronounce mute (audio) \
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.



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


muted; muting

Kids Definition of mute (Entry 3 of 3)

: to soften or reduce the sound of We muted our voices.
\ ˈmyüt How to pronounce mute (audio) \
muter; mutest

Medical Definition of mute

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: unable to speak : lacking the power of speech

Other Words from mute

muteness noun



Medical Definition of mute (Entry 2 of 2)

: one who cannot or does not speak

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More from Merriam-Webster on mute

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mute

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mute

Spanish Central: Translation of mute

Nglish: Translation of mute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mute for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mute

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