Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[def-uh n-duhm] /ˈdɛf ənˈdʌm/
adjective, Offensive.
deaf-mute (def 1).
Origin of deaf-and-dumb
1150-1200; Middle English def and doumb
Usage note
See dumb. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for deaf-and-dumb
Historical Examples
  • This may be a reason why Sophy, with her deaf-and-dumb child in her arms, seemed to stand silent by me all through my nap.

    Doctor Marigold Charles Dickens
  • A deaf-and-dumb institution 'would capitulate in half an hour.

    Arthur O'Leary Charles James Lever
  • Indeed the suggestion, which you have just made, of a deaf-and-dumb alphabet is capital.

  • There was also Graves, his deaf-and-dumb gardener, and a new bucket for the well.

    Plashers Mead Compton Mackenzie
  • Some sorts talk more than others; some only speak in sign-language, like deaf-and-dumb.

  • Looking up and seeing me, he says, in our deaf-and-dumb talk, “Do not be angry.”

    Doctor Marigold Charles Dickens
  • There is no experience more heavily fraught with deep ghastly lonesomeness than that of being shaved by a deaf-and-dumb barber.

  • This deaf-and-dumb servitor was driven mad by a fact which caused him joy.

    The Circular Study Anna Katharine Green
  • The deaf-and-dumb woman has a blind husband, who squeezes a concertina whilst she shakes some coppers in a tin cup at you.

  • This deaf-and-dumb servitor was driven mad by the fact which caused him joy.

    The Circular Study Anna Katharine Green
British Dictionary definitions for deaf-and-dumb


unable to hear or speak
a deaf person without speech
Usage note
Using deaf-and-dumb to refer to people without speech is considered outdated and offensive, and should be avoided. The phrase profoundly deaf is a suitable alternative in many contexts
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for deaf-and-dumb

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for deaf

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for deaf-and-dumb