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dull

[duhl] /dʌl/
adjective, duller, dullest.
1.
not sharp; blunt:
a dull knife.
2.
causing boredom; tedious; uninteresting:
a dull sermon.
3.
not lively or spirited; listless.
4.
not bright, intense, or clear; dim:
a dull day; a dull sound.
5.
having very little depth of color; lacking in richness or intensity of color.
6.
slow in motion or action; not brisk; sluggish:
a dull day in the stock market.
7.
mentally slow; lacking brightness of mind; somewhat stupid; obtuse.
8.
lacking keenness of perception in the senses or feelings; insensible; unfeeling.
9.
not intense or acute:
a dull pain.
verb (used with or without object)
10.
to make or become dull.
Origin of dull
1200-1250
1200-50; Middle English; akin to Old English dol foolish, stupid; cognate with German toll
Related forms
dullness, dulness, noun
dully, adverb
undulled, adjective
Synonyms
2. boring, tiresome, dreary, vapid. 3. apathetic, torpid, inactive, inert. 7. unimaginative, unintelligent, stolid. 10. blunt, deaden, benumb; depress, dishearten, discourage.
Antonyms
1. sharp, keen. 2. interesting. 7. bright.
Synonym Study
1. Dull, blunt refer to the edge or point of an instrument, tool, or the like. Dull implies a lack or a loss of keenness or sharpness: a dull razor or saw. Blunt may mean the same or may refer to an edge or point not intended to be keen or sharp: a blunt or stub pen; a blunt foil. 7.Dull, blunt, slow, stupid are applied to mental qualities. Dull implies obtuseness, lack of imagination: a dull child. Blunt implies loss of original keenness of intelligence through disease, sad experience, or the like: His critical faculties were blunt. Slow applies to a sluggish intellect: a slow mind. Stupid implies slowness of mental processes, but also lack of intelligence, wisdom, prudence, etc.: a stupid person.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dull
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As they approached it, the dull hue that lay upon it resembled that of the leaden sky.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • "Yes," said Dick, staring in front of him and speaking in a dull, even voice.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • Andrew, looking from the dull glimmer of his fire to that dead waste, sighed.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • It is a curious question why sacred song should so often be dull and commonplace.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • The sarcasm was without effect on the dull sensibilities of the officer.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
British Dictionary definitions for dull

dull

/dʌl/
adjective
1.
slow to think or understand; stupid
2.
lacking in interest
3.
lacking in perception or the ability to respond; insensitive
4.
lacking sharpness; blunt
5.
not acute, intense, or piercing
6.
(of weather) not bright or clear; cloudy
7.
not active, busy, or brisk
8.
lacking in spirit or animation; listless
9.
(of colour) lacking brilliance or brightness; sombre
10.
not loud or clear; muffled
11.
(med) (of sound elicited by percussion, esp of the chest) not resonant
verb
12.
to make or become dull
Derived Forms
dullish, adjective
dullness, dulness, noun
dully, adverb
Word Origin
Old English dol; related to Old Norse dul conceit, Old High German tol foolish, Greek tholeros confused
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
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Word Origin and History for dull
adj.

c.1200, "stupid;" early 13c., "blunt, not sharp;" rare before mid-14c., apparently from Old English dol "dull-witted, foolish," or an unrecorded parallel word, or from Middle Low German dul "slow-witted," both from Proto-Germanic *dulaz (cf. Old Frisian and Old Saxon dol "foolish," Old High German tol, German toll "mad, wild," Gothic dwals "foolish"), from PIE *dheu- (1) "dust, vapor, smoke" (and related notions of "defective perception or wits"). Of color from early 15c.; of pain or other sensations from 1725. Sense of "boring" first recorded 1580s.

dull. (8) Not exhilarating; not delightful; as to make dictionaries is dull work. [Johnson]
Dullsville, slang for "town where nothing happens," attested from 1960.

v.

c.1200, "to grow weary, tire;" of pointed or edged things from c.1400; of the senses from 1550s; from dull (adj.). Related: Dulled; dulling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dull in Medicine

dull (dŭl)
adj. dull·er, dull·est

  1. Lacking responsiveness or alertness; insensitive.

  2. Not intensely or keenly felt, as in pain.


dull'ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with dull

dull

In addition to the idiom beginning with dull also see: never a dull moment
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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