See more synonyms for dim on Thesaurus.com
adjective, dim·mer, dim·mest.
  1. not bright; obscure from lack of light or emitted light: a dim room; a dim flashlight.
  2. not seen clearly or in detail; indistinct: a dim object in the distance.
  3. not clear to the mind; vague: a dim idea.
  4. not brilliant; dull in luster: a dim color.
  5. not clear or distinct to the senses; faint: a dim sound.
  6. not seeing clearly: eyes dim with tears.
  7. tending to be unfavorable; not likely to happen, succeed, be favorable, etc.: a dim chance of winning.
  8. not understanding clearly.
  9. rather stupid; dim-witted.
verb (used with object), dimmed, dim·ming.
  1. to make dim or dimmer.
  2. to switch (the headlights of a vehicle) from the high to the low beam.
verb (used without object), dimmed, dim·ming.
  1. to become or grow dim or dimmer.
Verb Phrases
  1. dim out, (in wartime) to reduce the night illumination of (a city, ship, etc.) to make it less visible from the air or sea, as a protection from enemy aircraft or ships.
  1. take a dim view of, to regard with disapproval, skepticism, or dismay: Her mother takes a dim view of her choice of friends.

Origin of dim

before 1000; Middle English, Old English dim(me), cognate with Old Frisian dim, Old Norse dimmr
Related formsdim·ly, adverbdim·ma·ble, adjectivedim·ness, nounun·dim, adjectiveun·dim·ly, adverbun·dimmed, adjective

Synonyms for dim

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com

Synonym study

1. See dark.


  1. (in prescriptions) one-half.

Origin of dim.

From the Latin word dīmidius


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

Examples from the Web for dim

Contemporary Examples of dim

Historical Examples of dim

  • Percival made his way toward one of them with a dim notion that he might be concerned.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • They lay together in the big bed, dim, face to face, talking.

  • How will he despise what he can grasp, for the sake of the dim glory that eludes him!

    Other Tales and Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • But now some dim perception of this truth began to wake in her.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Even in that dim light there could be no mistaking those features.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

British Dictionary definitions for dim


adjective dimmer or dimmest
  1. badly illuminateda dim room
  2. not clearly seen; indistinct; fainta dim shape
  3. having weak or indistinct visioneyes dim with tears
  4. lacking in understanding; mentally dull
  5. not clear in the mind; obscurea dim memory
  6. lacking in brilliance, brightness, or lustrea dim colour
  7. tending to be unfavourable; gloomy or disapproving (esp in the phrase take a dim view)
verb dims, dimming or dimmed
  1. to become or cause to become dim
  2. (tr) to cause to seem less bright, as by comparison
  3. US and Canadian (tr) to switch (car headlights) from the main to the lower beamAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): dip
Derived Formsdimly, adverbdimness, noun

Word Origin for dim

Old English dimm; related to Old Norse dimmr gloomy, dark
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 dim

Old English dimm "dark, gloomy, obscure," from Proto-Germanic *dimbaz (cf. Old Norse dimmr, Old Frisian dim, Old High German timber "dark, black, somber"). Not known outside Germanic. Slang sense of "stupid" is from 1892. Related: Dimly; dimness.


c.1200, perhaps in Old English, from dim (adj.). Related: Dimmed; dimming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dim in Medicine


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

Idioms and Phrases with dim


see take a dim view.

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