dumb

[ duhm ]
/ dʌm /

adjective, dumb·er, dumb·est.

Verb Phrases

dumb down, Informal. to make or become less intellectual, simpler, or less sophisticated: to dumb down a textbook; American movies have dumbed down.

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Origin of dumb

before 1000; Old English; cognate with Old Norse dumbr, Gothic dumbs, Old Saxon dumb, Old High German tump, German dumm

usage note for dumb

Dumb in the sense “lacking the power of speech” is perceived as insulting when describing humans (but not animals), probably because dumb also means “stupid; dull-witted.” The noun dummy in the sense “person who lacks the power of speech” is also perceived as insulting, as are the terms deaf-and-dumb, deaf-mute, and mute. The adjective hearing-impaired is acceptable though not the term of choice, partly because it lacks directness. The preferred term is deaf, which makes no reference to an inability to speak or communicate; the capitalized Deaf signals membership in this community.

OTHER WORDS FROM dumb

dumb·ly, adverbdumb·ness, nounqua·si-dumb, adjectivequa·si-dumb·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for dumb down (1 of 2)

dumb down

verb

(tr) to make or become less intellectually demanding or sophisticatedattempts to dumb down news coverage

British Dictionary definitions for dumb down (2 of 2)

dumb
/ (dʌm) /

adjective

Derived forms of dumb

dumbly, adverbdumbness, noun

Word Origin for dumb

Old English; related to Old Norse dumbr, Gothic dumbs, Old High German tump
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