Synonyms & Antonyms of dumb

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 deliberately refraining from speech
  • the mayor has chosen to remain dumb about her activities that night

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2 not having or showing an ability to absorb ideas readily
  • don't call him dumb just because he makes the occasional mistake like the rest of us

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3 tending not to speak frequently (as by habit or inclination)
  • he prefers to remain dumb, and replies in monosyllables if really pressed

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Synonyms & Antonyms of dumb (Entry 2 of 2)

to stop the noise or speech of
  • the terrible news dumbed her for a long moment, and then she burst into tears

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About dumb

How does the adjective dumb contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of dumb are crass, dense, dull, and stupid. While all these words mean "lacking in power to absorb ideas or impressions," dumb applies to an exasperating obtuseness or lack of comprehension.

too dumb to figure out what's going on

When would crass be a good substitute for dumb?

While in some cases nearly identical to dumb, crass suggests a grossness of mind precluding discrimination or delicacy.

a crass, materialistic people

Where would dense be a reasonable alternative to dumb?

The synonyms dense and dumb are sometimes interchangeable, but dense implies a thickheaded imperviousness to ideas.

too dense to take a hint

In what contexts can dull take the place of dumb?

Although the words dull and dumb have much in common, dull suggests a slow or sluggish mind such as results from disease, depression, or shock.

monotonous work that leaves the mind dull

When is stupid a more appropriate choice than dumb?

While the synonyms stupid and dumb are close in meaning, stupid implies a slow-witted or dazed state of mind that may be either congenital or temporary.

stupid students just keeping the seats warm

stupid with drink

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Time Traveler for dumb

Time Traveler

The first known use of dumb was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Dumb.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on dumb

Dictionary: Definition of dumb

Nglish: Translation of dumb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dumb for Arabic Speakers

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