deaf

[def]
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adjective, deaf·er, deaf·est.

partially or wholly lacking or deprived of the sense of hearing; unable to hear.
refusing to listen, heed, or be persuaded; unreasonable or unyielding: deaf to all advice.
(initial capital letter) of or relating to the Deaf or their cultural community: Deaf customs and values.

noun (used with a plural verb)

deaf persons collectively (usually preceded by the): social services for the deaf.
(initial capital letter) deaf persons who identify themselves as members of a community composed of deaf persons and others who share in their culture (usually preceded by the).

Nearby words

  1. deadweight,
  2. deadweight tonnage,
  3. deadwood,
  4. deadwork,
  5. deaerate,
  6. deaf aid,
  7. deaf as a post,
  8. deaf without speech,
  9. deaf-and-dumb,
  10. deaf-blind

Origin of deaf

before 900; Middle English deef, Old English dēaf; cognate with Middle Low German dōf, Dutch doof, Old High German toub

Related forms

Pronunciation note

Deaf is usually pronounced [def] /dɛf/, with the vowel of left. In uneducated speech the dialectal pronunciation [deef] /dif/, to rhyme with leaf, is still heard occasionally, but it is increasingly rare.

Usage note

See dumb.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for deafness


British Dictionary definitions for deafness

deaf

adjective

  1. partially or totally unable to hear
  2. (as collective noun; preceded by the)the deaf See also tone-deaf
refusing to heeddeaf to the cries of the hungry
Derived Formsdeafly, adverbdeafness, noun

Word Origin for deaf

Old English dēaf; related to Old Norse daufr

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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 deafness
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for deafness

deafness

[dĕfnĭs]

n.

The lack or loss of the ability to hear.

deaf

[dĕf]

adj.

Partially or completely lacking in the sense of hearing.
Deaf Of or relating to the Deaf or their culture.

n.

Deaf people considered as a group.
Deaf The community of deaf people who use American Sign Language as a primary means of communication.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for deafness

deafness

[dĕfnĭs]

The lack or severe impairment of the ability to hear. Deafness is usually genetic or congenital as a result of prenatal viral infection, birth trauma, or other causes. Acquired deafness is caused mostly by drug toxicity, trauma, and certain diseases. Cochlear implants are used to treat some forms of deafness.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with deafness

deaf

In addition to the idiom beginning with deaf

  • deaf as a post

also see:

  • fall on deaf ears
  • stone deaf
  • turn a deaf ear
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.