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dull

[duhl]
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adjective, dull·er, dull·est.
  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.
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to make or become dull.
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Origin of dull

1200–50; Middle English; akin to Old English dol foolish, stupid; cognate with German toll
Related formsdull·ness, dul·ness, noundul·ly, adverbun·dulled, adjective

Synonyms

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2. boring, tiresome, dreary, vapid. 3. apathetic, torpid, inactive, inert. 7. unimaginative, unintelligent, stolid. 10. blunt, deaden, benumb; depress, dishearten, discourage.

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.

Antonyms

1. sharp, keen. 2. interesting. 7. bright.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dully

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "I don't know why you come around bothering me," she said dully.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "I paid it to Squire Hall to-day and he has it fer ye," said Hiram, dully.

  • They advanced to the topic again and again, dully, but with exaltation.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • The captain looked at him dully; then, understanding, a cackle came from his throat.

    Under Arctic Ice

    H.G. Winter

  • As he had crossed the threshold, Beatrix had raised her head and looked at him dully.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray


British Dictionary definitions for dully

dull

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
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verb
  1. to make or become dull
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Derived Formsdullish, adjectivedullness or dulness, noundully, 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

Word Origin and History for dully

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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dully in Medicine

dull

(dŭl)
adj.
  1. Lacking responsiveness or alertness; insensitive.
  2. Not intensely or keenly felt, as in pain.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with dully

dull

In addition to the idiom beginning with dull

also see:

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.