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dummy

[duhm-ee]
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noun, plural dum·mies.
  1. a representation or copy of something, as for displaying to indicate appearance: a display of lipstick dummies made of colored plastic.
  2. a representation of a human figure, as for displaying clothes in store windows.
  3. Informal. a stupid person; dolt.
  4. a person who has nothing to say or who takes no active part in affairs.
  5. one put forward to act for others while ostensibly acting for oneself.
  6. Slang.
    1. Older Use: Offensive.a person who lacks the power of speech.
    2. a person who is characteristically and habitually silent.
  7. Bridge.
    1. the declarer's partner, whose hand is exposed and played by the declarer.
    2. the hand of cards so exposed.
    3. a game so played.
    4. an imaginary player represented by an exposed hand that is played by and serves as partner to one of the players.
  8. British. pacifier(def 2).
  9. Printing. sheets folded and made up to show the size, shape, form, sequence, and general style of a contemplated piece of printing.
  10. a rammer for pushing out dents in lead pipe.
  11. Computers. an artificial address, instruction, or other datum fed into a computer only to fulfill prescribed conditions and not affecting operations for solving problems.
  12. Military. a nonexplosive bomb used for practice exercises.
  13. Dentistry. pontic.
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adjective
  1. noting or pertaining to an imitation, representation, or copy.
  2. counterfeit; sham; fictitious.
  3. put forward to act for others while ostensibly acting for oneself.
  4. Cards. played with a dummy.
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verb (used with object), dum·mied, dum·my·ing.
  1. Printing. to prepare a dummy of (often followed by up): The designer dummied up the book so that they could study the format.
  2. to represent in a dummy (often followed by in): to dummy in an illustration.
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Verb Phrases
  1. dummy up, Informal. to keep silent; refuse to answer: If anybody asks you, just dummy up.
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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. 2018

Related Words for dummy

idiot, sub, form, figure, ringer, substitute, duplicate, counterfeit, imitation, model, copy, manikin, sham, stand-in, fool, oaf, dunce, dullard, blockhead, moron

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
  1. 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
  2. slang a stupid person; fool
  3. derogatory, slang a person without the power of speech; mute
  4. 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
  5. military a weighted round without explosives, used in drill and training
  6. 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
  7. a feigned pass or move in a sport such as football or rugby
  8. British a rubber teat for babies to suck or bite onUS and Canadian equivalent: pacifier
  9. (modifier) counterfeit; sham
  10. (modifier) (of a card game) played with one hand exposed or unplayed
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verb -mies, -mying or -mied
  1. to prepare a dummy of (a proposed book, page, etc)
  2. Also: sell someone a dummy sport to use a dummy pass in order to trick (an opponent)
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dummy in Culture

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.

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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.