Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Best Internet Slang

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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for dulling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I should merely be dulling your appetite, without satisfying your hunger.

    Daisy Ashford: Her Book Daisy Ashford
  • There is a pathetic reference in a letter to this dulling of his power of vision.

    Schopenhauer Margrieta Beer
  • A look of fright and joy came into Mrs. Vincent's dulling eyes.

    Margaret Vincent Sophia Lucy Clifford
  • And with it a damping of her ardor, and a dulling of the fine edge of her enthusiasm.

    Carmen Ariza Charles Francis Stocking
  • There came a louder clamor—volcanic, chaotic, dulling the thunders.

    The Metal Monster A. Merritt
  • Then came a great crash, with a single second's dulling of the whole blaze.

    The Hole in the Wall

    Arthur Morrison
  • If he had not forgotten he had at least succeeded in dulling the edge of his feeling for her.

    Shadows of Flames Amelie Rives
  • A long continuance of the same kind of food has the effect of dulling the appetite.

    The Pig Sanders Spencer
  • It may be more easily explained as a result of a dulling of the imagination.

British Dictionary definitions for dulling

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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for dulling

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.

dull

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
Cite This Source
dulling 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.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with dulling

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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for dull

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for dulling

9
14
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for dulling