- unable to hear and speak.
- a person who is unable to hear and speak, especially one in whom inability to speak is due to congenital or early deafness.
Origin of deaf-mute
1830–40; translation of French sourd-muet
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- unable to hear or speak
C19: translation of French sourd-muet
Using this word to refer to people without speech is considered outdated and offensive, and should be avoided. The phrase profoundly deaf is a suitable alternative in many contexts
- Inability to hear and speak. No longer in technical use.
- A person who can neither hear nor speak. No longer in technical use.
- Unable to speak or hear.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.