\ ˈdəl How to pronounce dull (audio) \

Definition of dull

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : tedious, uninteresting dull lectures
2 : lacking sharpness of edge or point a dull knife
3a : not resonant or ringing a dull booming sound
b : lacking in force, intensity, or sharpness a dull ache
4 : lacking brilliance or luster a dull finish
5 : cloudy dull weather
6 of a color : low in saturation (see saturation sense 4a) and low in lightness a dull green
7 : mentally slow : stupid
8a : slow in perception or sensibility : insensible somewhat dull of hearing dull to what went on about her— Willa Cather
b : lacking zest (see zest sense 2) or vivacity : listless a dull performance
9 : slow in action : sluggish dull markets


dulled; dulling; dulls

Definition of dull (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make dull dull a knife's edge

intransitive verb

: to become dull The blade dulled with use.

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Other Words from dull


dullness or less commonly dulness \ ˈdəl-​nəs How to pronounce dull (audio) \ noun
dully \ ˈdə(l)-​lē How to pronounce dull (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for dull

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Verb

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dull, blunt, obtuse mean not sharp, keen, or acute. dull suggests a lack or loss of keenness, zest, or pungency. a dull pain a dull mind blunt suggests an inherent lack of sharpness or quickness of feeling or perception. a person of blunt sensibility obtuse implies such bluntness as makes one insensitive in perception or imagination. too obtuse to take the hint

synonyms see in addition stupid

Examples of dull in a Sentence

Adjective the dull roar of the crowd the dull knife just bounced off the skin of the tomato without cutting it Verb Fog dulled the morning sunlight. Special earplugs dulled the sound of the chain saw. His hair dulled as he aged. The dog's eyes dulled as he got sick. She takes medicine to dull the pain. Fear dulled his need for adventure. The knife was dulled from use. The blade should be replaced as soon as it dulls.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective My first symptom, a dull pain in my left breast, felt like a muscle ache. Allison Tsai, SELF, 7 Oct. 2021 Place a sheet of aluminum foil, dull side up, on the oven rack because the tart may bubble over. Deb Wandell, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Oct. 2021 The layers of oil on the surface of water vary in thickness, size and color from dull brown to silver. Los Angeles Times, 6 Oct. 2021 As Hoosiers anxiously await for fall colors of red, orange and yellow to take over the canopy, the only hues many are seeing are shades of dull green and brown. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, 5 Oct. 2021 One hundred and eighty riders set off that morning from the town of Compiègne, northeast of Paris for 162.2 miles of damp, dull pain. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, 2 Oct. 2021 The prospect of sitting through bad virtual presentations with dull slide decks isn’t appealing. Lee Gimpel, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 Something about the many tiny pings of pain (pleasing) instead of the single dull stretch (numbing). Sanjena Sathian, The Atlantic, 28 Sep. 2021 The Spurs’ practice gym was quiet Monday, save for the dull drone of conversation and the occasional click of a camera shutter that hallmark an NBA media day. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, 28 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The coastal blues continue to dull and the blossom pinks continue to mute, but not every step toward its demise looks like decay. Lauren Depino, Time, 9 Oct. 2021 Rattling around loose in a tool box or bag is a sure way to dull the cutting edges prematurely. Bradley Ford, Popular Mechanics, 30 Sep. 2021 Unfortunately, relying on a substance to dull your stress can easily become problematic. Irina Gonzalez, Good Housekeeping, 29 Sep. 2021 Some of the political satire's bite has faded as our world has become more absurd and shocking, but that doesn't dull the sharpness of star Julia Louis-Dreyfus's performance. Edward Segarra, USA TODAY, 5 Aug. 2021 The fat in dairy can dull flavors, and without it the corn tasted sweeter and brighter, the clams brinier, and the whole thing fresher and more lively than a chowder has any right to be. Amiel Stanek, Bon Appétit, 26 Aug. 2021 Neuropathy can dull sensations, and an active environment may make the vibrations undetectable. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 3 Aug. 2021 Less than two decades ago, Fissel herself was suicidal, homeless and abusing drugs and alcohol to dull the pain of her abusive childhood. Susan Dunne, courant.com, 14 Aug. 2021 Launch angles, power pitching, defensive shifts, etc., have conspired to dull down the game. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 15 June 2021

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for dull

Adjective and Verb

Middle English dul; akin to Old English dol foolish, Old Irish dall blind

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Time Traveler for dull

Time Traveler

The first known use of dull was in the 13th century

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Statistics for dull

Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dull.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dull. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for dull



English Language Learners Definition of dull

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not exciting or interesting : boring
: having an edge or point that is not sharp
: not clear and loud



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

: to become or cause (something) to become less clear, distinct, bright, or shiny
: to make (something, such as a feeling) less sharp, strong, or severe
: to become or cause (something, such as a knife or blade) to become less sharp


\ ˈdəl How to pronounce dull (audio) \
duller; dullest

Kids Definition of dull

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not sharp in edge or point : blunt a dull knife
2 : not shiny or bright The old trophy had a dull finish.
3 : not interesting : boring a dull movie
4 : not clear and ringing a dull sound
5 : not sharp or intense I have a dull ache in my arm.
6 : slightly grayish a dull red
7 : cloudy sense 1, overcast a dull sky
8 : slow in understanding things : not smart
9 : without energy or spirit She was feeling dull.
10 : slow in action : sluggish Business was dull.

Other Words from dull

dullness noun
dully adverb


dulled; dulling

Kids Definition of dull (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make or become less sharp, bright, or intense Medicine dulled the pain.


\ ˈdəl How to pronounce dull (audio) \

Medical Definition of dull

1 : mentally slow or stupid
2 : slow in perception or sensibility
3 : lacking sharpness of edge or point a dull scalpel
4 : lacking in force, intensity, or acuteness a dull pain

Other Words from dull

dull verb
dullness or dulness \ ˈdəl-​nəs How to pronounce dull (audio) \ noun
dully \ ˈdəl-​ē How to pronounce dull (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on dull

Nglish: Translation of dull for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dull for Arabic Speakers


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