[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. dumaguete,
  2. dumas,
  3. dumas père,
  4. dumas, alexandre,
  5. dumas, jean baptiste andré,
  6. dumb ague,
  7. dumb barter,
  8. dumb bid,
  9. dumb bunny,
  10. dumb cane

Origin of dumb

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

Related formsdumb·ly, adverbdumb·ness, nounqua·si-dumb, adjectivequa·si-dumb·ly, adverb

Usage note

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.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dumbly

British Dictionary definitions for dumbly


/ (dʌm) /


Derived Formsdumbly, 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

Word Origin and History for dumbly


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper