[ duhm ]
/ dʌm /
adjective, dumb·er, dumb·est.
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.
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Question 1 of 10
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 dumbdumb·ly, adverbdumb·ness, nounqua·si-dumb, adjectivequa·si-dumb·ly, adverb
Words nearby dumb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for dumb down (1 of 2)
(tr) to make or become less intellectually demanding or sophisticatedattempts to dumb down news coverage
British Dictionary definitions for dumb down (2 of 2)
/ (dʌm) /
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
Derived forms of dumbdumbly, 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