dull

[duhl]
||

adjective, dull·er, dull·est.

verb (used with or without object)

to make or become dull.

Origin of dull

1200–50; Middle English; akin to Old English dol foolish, stupid; cognate with German toll
Related formsdull·ness, dul·ness, noundul·ly, adverbun·dulled, adjective

Synonyms for dull

Synonym study

1. Dull, blunt refer to the edge or point of an instrument, tool, or the like. Dull implies a lack or a loss of keenness or sharpness: a dull razor or saw. Blunt may mean the same or may refer to an edge or point not intended to be keen or sharp: a blunt or stub pen; a blunt foil. 7. Dull, blunt, slow, stupid are applied to mental qualities. Dull implies obtuseness, lack of imagination: a dull child. Blunt implies loss of original keenness of intelligence through disease, sad experience, or the like: His critical faculties were blunt. Slow applies to a sluggish intellect: a slow mind. Stupid implies slowness of mental processes, but also lack of intelligence, wisdom, prudence, etc.: a stupid person.

Antonyms for dull

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

Examples from the Web for dullness

Contemporary Examples of dullness

Historical Examples of dullness

  • For all her dullness, it was a signal from Sally that saved Andrew.

  • Yet, now, in the dullness ran a faint suggestion of something sinister.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • I know all about the "dullness" and "monotony" of rural life, bad housing and the rest of it.

    Another Sheaf

    John Galsworthy

  • His attempts at general conversation broke down into dullness.

    A Set of Six

    Joseph Conrad

  • Recent Paris and Calcutta retrospect chides his dullness of perception.

    Oswald Langdon

    Carson Jay Lee



British Dictionary definitions for dullness

dull

adjective

slow to think or understand; stupid
lacking in interest
lacking in perception or the ability to respond; insensitive
lacking sharpness; blunt
not acute, intense, or piercing
(of weather) not bright or clear; cloudy
not active, busy, or brisk
lacking in spirit or animation; listless
(of colour) lacking brilliance or brightness; sombre
not loud or clear; muffled
med (of sound elicited by percussion, esp of the chest) not resonant

verb

to make or become dull
Derived Formsdullish, adjectivedullness or dulness, noundully, adverb

Word Origin for dull

Old English dol; related to Old Norse dul conceit, Old High German tol foolish, Greek tholeros confused
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 dullness

dull

adj.

c.1200, "stupid;" early 13c., "blunt, not sharp;" rare before mid-14c., apparently from Old English dol "dull-witted, foolish," or an unrecorded parallel word, or from Middle Low German dul "slow-witted," both from Proto-Germanic *dulaz (cf. Old Frisian and Old Saxon dol "foolish," Old High German tol, German toll "mad, wild," Gothic dwals "foolish"), from PIE *dheu- (1) "dust, vapor, smoke" (and related notions of "defective perception or wits"). Of color from early 15c.; of pain or other sensations from 1725. Sense of "boring" first recorded 1580s.

dull. (8) Not exhilarating; not delightful; as to make dictionaries is dull work. [Johnson]

Dullsville, slang for "town where nothing happens," attested from 1960.

dull

v.

c.1200, "to grow weary, tire;" of pointed or edged things from c.1400; of the senses from 1550s; from dull (adj.). Related: Dulled; dulling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for dullness

dull

[dŭl]

adj.

Lacking responsiveness or alertness; insensitive.
Not intensely or keenly felt, as in pain.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with dullness

dull

In addition to the idiom beginning with dull

  • dull as dishwater

also see:

  • never a dull moment
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.