Origin of dummy

1590–1600; 1915–20, Americanism for def 20; dumb + -y3

Usage note

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

Examples from the Web for dummy

Contemporary Examples of dummy

Historical Examples of dummy

  • He walked over to Spud, lifted the dummy into position in the crook of his arm.

  • He walked over to the dummy and touched the wooden head with his hand.

  • Again the dummy's mouth opened, the head bobbed and the eyes blinked.

  • He ran a hand across his eyes, dropped the dummy onto the desk.

  • IN the next two or three days Dummy he got to be powerful popular.

    Tom Sawyer, Detective

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)



British Dictionary definitions for dummy

dummy

noun plural -mies

a figure representing the human form, used for displaying clothes, in a ventriloquist's act, as a target, etc
  1. a copy or imitation of an object, often lacking some essential feature of the original
  2. (as modifier)a dummy drawer
slang a stupid person; fool
derogatory, slang a person without the power of speech; mute
informal a person who says or does nothing
  1. a person who appears to act for himself while acting on behalf of another
  2. (as modifier)a dummy buyer
military a weighted round without explosives, used in drill and training
bridge
  1. the hand exposed on the table by the declarer's partner and played by the declarer
  2. the declarer's partner
  1. a prototype of a proposed book, indicating the general appearance and dimensions of the finished product
  2. a designer's layout of a page indicating the positions for illustrations, etc
a feigned pass or move in a sport such as football or rugby
British a rubber teat for babies to suck or bite onUS and Canadian equivalent: pacifier
(modifier) counterfeit; sham
(modifier) (of a card game) played with one hand exposed or unplayed

verb -mies, -mying or -mied

to prepare a dummy of (a proposed book, page, etc)
Also: sell someone a dummy sport to use a dummy pass in order to trick (an opponent)

Word Origin for dummy

C16: see dumb, -y ³
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 dummy
n.

1590s, "mute person," from dumb (adj.) + -y (3). Extended by 1845 to "figure representing a person." Used in card games (originally whist) since 1736. Meaning "dolt, blockhead" is from 1796.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for dummy

dummy

In a corporation, one who stands in for a real director or who serves as a nominal director during the organization of the corporation until the stockholders can elect directors.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.