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 dully

Contemporary Examples of dully

  • Gravity is transformed from the constraint that holds us dully to Earth into the power that lets us fly.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Skiing is Love at First Swoosh

    David Frum

    March 16, 2013

  • “Toward the end, you didn't know it was bodies anymore,” Helen says dully.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Dr. Mengele's Twins

    Abigail Pogrebin

    October 28, 2009

Historical Examples of dully

  • "I don't know why you come around bothering me," she said dully.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "I paid it to Squire Hall to-day and he has it fer ye," said Hiram, dully.

  • They advanced to the topic again and again, dully, but with exaltation.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • The captain looked at him dully; then, understanding, a cackle came from his throat.

    Under Arctic Ice

    H.G. Winter

  • As he had crossed the threshold, Beatrix had raised her head and looked at him dully.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray


British Dictionary definitions for dully

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 dully

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

dully in Medicine

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 dully

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.