- a gymnastic apparatus consisting of two wooden or metal balls connected by a short bar serving as a handle, used as a weight for exercising.
- a stupid person.
Origin of dumbbell
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dumbbell
It's nice to feel she isn't being wasted on some dumbbell, isn't it?Christopher and the Clockmakers
Sara Ware Bassett
I was taken aboard one of their dumbbell ships, and brought here.The Secret of the Ninth Planet
Donald Allen Wollheim
But a woman is at once given away: she look like a dumbbell run over by an express train.In Defense of Women
H. L. Mencken
The next day he calmly chose the seat in front of the dumbbell—and proceeded to write a perfect examination.The Plastic Age
It was something like a dumbbell, covered with marine growth where it had been above the sand, but fairly smooth under it.The Wailing Octopus
Harold Leland Goodwin
- gymnastics weightlifting an exercising weight consisting of a single bar with a heavy ball or disc at either end
- a small wooden object shaped like this used in dog training for the dog to retrieve
- slang, mainly US and Canadian a fool
Word Origin and History for dumbbell
"weighted bar used for exercise," 1711, originally an apparatus like that used to ring a church bell, but without the bell (hence dumb); used for exercise but sometimes also to practice ringing changes. Figurative sense of "blockhead, stupid person" attested by 1918, American English college slang.