[ duhl ]
See synonyms for: dulldulleddullerdulling on Thesaurus.com

adjective,dull·er, dull·est.
  1. not sharp; blunt: a dull knife.

  2. causing boredom; tedious; uninteresting: a dull sermon.

  1. not lively or spirited; listless.

  2. not bright, intense, or clear; dim: a dull day; a dull sound.

  3. having very little depth of color; lacking in richness or intensity of color.

  4. slow in motion or action; not brisk; sluggish: a dull day in the stock market.

  5. mentally slow; lacking brightness of mind; somewhat stupid; obtuse.

  6. lacking keenness of perception in the senses or feelings; insensible; unfeeling.

  7. not intense or acute: a dull pain.

verb (used with or without object)
  1. to make or become dull.

Origin of dull

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English; akin to Old English dol “foolish, stupid”; cognate with German toll

synonym study For dull

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.

Other words for dull

Opposites for dull

Other words from dull

  • dullness, dulness, noun
  • dully, adverb
  • un·dulled, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use dull in a sentence

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

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

    Dr. Mengele's Twins | Abigail Pogrebin | October 28, 2009 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Garnache opened his eyes and stared a second dully at the disturber of his feigned slumbers.

    St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
  • Presently a pair of bloodshot eyes were opened and looked dully round the room.

    The Weight of the Crown | Fred M. White
  • They tried to make as little noise as possible, but though they walked on tiptoe, the sound echoed back to them dully.

  • Dully, his intellect numbed as his body was numbed, he went back to his tasks,—tasks that were seemingly endless.

    The White Desert | Courtney Ryley Cooper
  • Dully, hazily, he stared at it with his red eyes, with the faint feeling of a duty neglected.

    The White Desert | Courtney Ryley Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for dull


/ (dʌl) /

  1. slow to think or understand; stupid

  2. lacking in interest

  1. lacking in perception or the ability to respond; insensitive

  2. lacking sharpness; blunt

  3. not acute, intense, or piercing

  4. (of weather) not bright or clear; cloudy

  5. not active, busy, or brisk

  6. lacking in spirit or animation; listless

  7. (of colour) lacking brilliance or brightness; sombre

  8. not loud or clear; muffled

  9. med (of sound elicited by percussion, esp of the chest) not resonant

  1. to make or become dull

Origin of dull

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

Derived forms of dull

  • dullish, adjective
  • dullness or dulness, noun
  • dully, adverb

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with 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.