[ myoot ]
/ myut /

adjective, mut·er, mut·est.


verb (used with object), mut·ed, mut·ing.

to deaden or muffle the sound of.
to reduce the intensity of (a color) by the addition of another color.

Origin of mute

1325–75; < Latin mūtus dumb; replacing Middle English muet < Middle French, equivalent to Old French mu (< Latin mūtus) + unexplained suffix -et; cf. -et

Related forms

mute·ly, adverbmute·ness, noun

Can be confused

moot mute

Usage note

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

Examples from the Web for mute

British Dictionary definitions for mute (1 of 2)


/ (mjuːt) /



verb (tr)

to reduce the volume of (a musical instrument) by means of a mute, soft pedal, etc
to subdue the strength of (a colour, tone, lighting, etc)

Derived Forms

mutely, adverbmuteness, noun

Word Origin for mute

C14: muwet from Old French mu, from Latin mūtus silent


Using this word to refer to people without speech is considered outdated and offensive and should be avoided. The phrase profoundly deaf is a suitable alternative in many contexts

British Dictionary definitions for mute (2 of 2)


/ (mjuːt) archaic /


(of birds) to discharge (faeces)


birds' faeces

Word Origin for mute

C15: from Old French meutir, variant of esmeltir, of Germanic origin; probably related to smelt 1 and melt
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

Medicine definitions for mute


[ myōōt ]


Unable or unwilling to speak.


One who does not have the faculty of speech. No longer in technical use; considered offensive.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.