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adjective, blunt·er, blunt·est.
  1. having an obtuse, thick, or dull edge or point; rounded; not sharp: a blunt pencil.
  2. abrupt in address or manner: a blunt, ill-timed question.
  3. slow in perception or understanding; obtuse: His isolation has made him blunt about the feelings of others.
verb (used with object), blunt·ed, blunt·ing.
  1. to make blunt or dull: He blunted the knife by using it to cut linoleum.
  2. to weaken or impair the force, keenness, or susceptibility of: Wine first excites, then blunts the imagination.
verb (used without object), blunt·ed, blunt·ing.
  1. to become blunt or dull.
  1. something blunt, as a small-game arrow, a short sewing needle, or a short, thick cigar.
  2. Slang. a cigar stuffed with marijuana.

Origin of blunt

1150–1200; Middle English; perhaps akin to blind
Related formsblunt·ly, adverbblunt·ness, nounun·blunt·ed, adjective

Synonyms for blunt

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Synonym study

1. See dull. 2. Blunt, bluff, brusque, curt characterize manners and speech. Blunt suggests lack of polish and of regard for the feelings of others: blunt and tactless. Bluff implies an unintentional roughness together with so much good-natured heartiness that others rarely take offense: a bluff sea captain. Brusque connotes sharpness and abruptness of speech or manner: a brusque denial. Curt applies especially to disconcertingly concise language: a curt reply. 3. See dull. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bluntness

Contemporary Examples of bluntness

Historical Examples of bluntness

  • The bluntness of Lizzie's speech disconcerted him, and yet the simplicity of it reassured him.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • The bluntness of this assertion rather staggered the prince.

    The Lure of the Mask

    Harold MacGrath

  • "Madame, I have none," he answered with a bluntness not ill calculated.

    Simon Dale

    Anthony Hope

  • There are times for tact and times for bluntness, and this was a time, Brent decided, for the latter.

    Ten From Infinity

    Paul W. Fairman

  • If the man felt any perturbation at the bluntness of the question he did not show it.

British Dictionary definitions for bluntness


  1. (esp of a knife or blade) lacking sharpness or keenness; dull
  2. not having a sharp edge or pointa blunt instrument
  3. (of people, manner of speaking, etc) lacking refinement or subtlety; straightforward and uncomplicated
  4. outspoken; direct and to the pointa blunt Yorkshireman
verb (tr)
  1. to make less sharp
  2. to diminish the sensitivity or perception of; make dull
  1. slang a cannabis cigarette
Derived Formsbluntly, adverbbluntness, noun

Word Origin for blunt

C12: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse blundr dozing, blunda to close one's eyes; see blunder, blind


  1. Anthony . 1907–83, British art historian and Soviet spy
  2. Wilfred Scawen . 1840–1922, British poet, traveller, and anti-imperialist
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 bluntness

late 15c., "stupidity," from blunt (adj.) + -ness. Meaning "rudeness" is from c.1600.



c.1200, "dull, obtuse," perhaps from or related to Old Norse blundra (see blunder (v.)). Of tools or weapons, late 14c. Meaning "abrupt of speech or manner" is from 1580s.



late 14c., from blunt (adj.). Related: Blunted; blunting.



street slang for "marijuana and tobacco cigar" (easier to pass around, easier to disguise, and the stimulant in the tobacco enhances the high from the pot) surfaced c.1993, but is said to have originated among Jamaicans in New York City in the early 1980s; from Phillies Blunt brand cigars; see blunt (adj.), which has been used of certain cigars since 19c.

Users say that the Phillies Blunt brand produces less harsh-tasting or sweeter smoke. The leaf wrapper of a Phillies Blunt is strong enough to hold together through the manipulations of making a blunt. Other brands fall apart. []
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper