- lacking intelligence or good judgment; stupid; dull-witted.
- lacking the power of speech (offensive when applied to humans): a dumb animal.
- temporarily unable to speak: dumb with astonishment.
- refraining from any or much speech; silent.
- made, done, etc., without speech.
- lacking some usual property, characteristic, etc.
- performed in pantomime; mimed.
- Computers. pertaining to the inability to do processing locally: A dumb terminal can input, output, and display data, but cannot process it.Compare intelligent(def 4).
- (of a barge) without means of propulsion.
- (of any craft) without means of propulsion, steering, or signaling.
- dumb down, Informal. to make or become less intellectual, simpler, or less sophisticated: to dumb down a textbook; American movies have dumbed down.
Origin of dumb
Related Wordsspeechless, foolish, dull, inarticulate, incoherent, mousy, mum, mute, quiet, silent, soundless, tongue-tied, uncommunicative, voiceless, wordless, dense, dim-witted, feebleminded, moronic, thick
Examples from the Web for dumb
“Which proves he is as dumb as a bag of hammers,” the official says.Protesters Slimed This Good Samaritan Cop
December 16, 2014
Does it matter whether Taylor Swift wants me to inflate my Internet notoriety by doing a dumb thing where I lip sync to her music?Death of the Author by Viral Infection: In Defense of Taylor Swift, Digital Doomsayer
December 3, 2014
The way I film is based on the assumption that the audience is as smart and dumb as I am.Inside The Secret World of London’s National Gallery
November 8, 2014
I thought I was going to have to dumb it down for this folk-pop singer.Herbie Hancock Holds Forth
November 8, 2014
Republicans know the truth about these proposals deep down, or I think most do (I suppose some actually are that dumb).How Can Dems Be Losing to These Idiots?
October 29, 2014
The holy possession lasted but a minute or so, and left her dumb.Weighed and Wanting
He resolved to pretend to be dumb, and he charged Terence not to betray him.Tales And Novels, Volume 4 (of 10)
First the blind, then the deaf and the dumb, then the halt and the lame—and so on.The Secret Agent
Dumb with fright, the boys stood and looked at the destruction.What Sami Sings with the Birds
Now they knew all the awful truth, and stared at each other like dumb men.Fair Margaret
H. Rider Haggard
- lacking the power to speak, either because of defects in the vocal organs or because of hereditary deafness
- lacking the power of human speechdumb animals
- temporarily lacking or bereft of the power to speakstruck dumb
- refraining from speech; uncommunicative
- producing no sound; silenta dumb piano
- made, done, or performed without speech
- slow to understand; dim-witted
- foolish; stupidSee also dumb down
- (of a projectile or bomb) not guided to its target
Word Origin and History for dumb
Old English dumb "silent, unable to speak," from PIE *dheubh- "confusion, stupefaction, dizziness," from root *dheu- (1) "dust, mist, vapor, smoke," and related notions of "defective perception or wits."
The Old English, Old Saxon (dumb), Gothic (dumbs), and Old Norse (dumbr) forms of the word meant only "mute, speechless;" in Old High German (thumb) it meant both this and "stupid," and in Modern German this latter became the only sense. Meaning "foolish, ignorant" was occasionally in Middle English, but modern use (1823) comes from influence of German dumm. Related: dumber; dumbest.
Applied to silent contrivances, hence dumbwaiter. As a verb, in late Old English, "to become mute;" c.1600, "to make mute." To dumb (something) down is from 1933.