- not sharp; blunt: a dull knife.
- causing boredom; tedious; uninteresting: a dull sermon.
- not lively or spirited; listless.
- not bright, intense, or clear; dim: a dull day; a dull sound.
- having very little depth of color; lacking in richness or intensity of color.
- slow in motion or action; not brisk; sluggish: a dull day in the stock market.
- mentally slow; lacking brightness of mind; somewhat stupid; obtuse.
- lacking keenness of perception in the senses or feelings; insensible; unfeeling.
- not intense or acute: a dull pain.
- to make or become dull.
Origin of dull
SynonymsSee more synonyms for dull on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for dullness
For the past forty years critic James Wolcott has been a cerebral antidote to the dullness contaminating our cultural pages.The Obligation to be Interesting: James Wolcott’s “Critical Mass”
October 24, 2013
Once you're out of breath, you might be within earshot of what that phrase conjures up in the United Kingdom: dullness.Unconsidered Trifles: Found Comedy in the Age of Social Media
March 30, 2013
Still, TV-show creators can appreciate the dullness in overthinking sex when the moment strikes—particularly after a certain age.Television’s 20-Something Female Virgins: ‘Girls,’ ‘Grey’s,’ and ‘Underemployed’
November 27, 2012
Luckily for him, this is Washington, where dullness can be prized if it is effective.Is Our Top Cop Keeping Us Safer?
September 12, 2011
His address showed that he has the gift of humility, and his dullness was, in fact, proof of that new humility.A Triumphantly Unmemorable Address
January 25, 2011
For all her dullness, it was a signal from Sally that saved Andrew.Way of the Lawless
Yet, now, in the dullness ran a faint suggestion of something sinister.Within the Law
I know all about the "dullness" and "monotony" of rural life, bad housing and the rest of it.Another Sheaf
His attempts at general conversation broke down into dullness.A Set of Six
Recent Paris and Calcutta retrospect chides his dullness of perception.Oswald Langdon
Carson Jay Lee
- 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
- to make or become dull
Word Origin and History for dullness
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.
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.
- Lacking responsiveness or alertness; insensitive.
- Not intensely or keenly felt, as in pain.
Idioms and Phrases with dullness
In addition to the idiom beginning with dull
- dull as dishwater
- never a dull moment