[ myoot ]
See synonyms for mute on
adjective,mut·er, mut·est.
  1. silent; refraining from speech or utterance.

  2. not emitting or having sound of any kind.

  1. incapable of speech (offensive when applied to humans): Animals are mute and are only able to speak in fairy tales and fables.

  2. (of letters) silent; not pronounced: The mute “e” in the word “dime” makes the preceding vowel long, so it is not pronounced like “dim.”

  3. Law. (of a person who has been arraigned) making no plea or giving an irrelevant response when arraigned, or refusing to stand trial (used chiefly in the phrase to stand mute).

  4. Fox Hunting. (of a hound) hunting a line without giving tongue or cry.

  1. Offensive. a person incapable of speech.

  2. an actor whose part is confined to dumb show.

  1. Law. a person who stands mute when arraigned.

  2. Also called sordino . a mechanical device of various shapes and materials for muffling the tone of a musical instrument.

  3. Phonetics. (especially in older use) stop (def. 34b).

  4. British Obsolete. a hired mourner at a funeral; a professional mourner.

verb (used with object),mut·ed, mut·ing.
  1. to deaden or muffle the sound of: The music was a little muted by distance and the trees.

  2. to turn off (a microphone, a speaker, or audio):During the commercials, they muted the TV and discussed the game.Check the mic icon to make sure you're not muted.

  1. to reduce the intensity of (a color) by the addition of another color.

  2. to soften or subdue; moderate: His happiness about returning to the United States was muted by his concern for the other hostages.

Origin of mute

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English muet, mewet, muwet, from Old French müet, muet, diminutive formation of Old French mu, from Latin mūtus “dumb, inarticulate”; see -et

usage note For mute

See dumb.

Opposites for mute

Other words from mute

  • mute·ly, adverb
  • mute·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with mute Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mute in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mute (1 of 2)


/ (mjuːt) /

  1. not giving out sound or speech; silent

  2. unable to speak; dumb

  1. unspoken or unexpressed: mute dislike

  2. law (of a person arraigned on indictment) refusing to answer a charge

  3. phonetics another word for plosive

  4. (of a letter in a word) silent

  1. a person who is unable to speak

  2. law a person who refuses to plead when arraigned on indictment for an offence

  1. any of various devices used to soften the tone of stringed or brass instruments

  2. phonetics a plosive consonant; stop

  3. a silent letter

  4. an actor in a dumb show

  5. a hired mourner at a funeral

  1. to reduce the volume of (a musical instrument) by means of a mute, soft pedal, etc

  2. to subdue the strength of (a colour, tone, lighting, etc)

Origin of mute

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

usage For mute

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

Derived forms of mute

  • mutely, adverb
  • muteness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for mute (2 of 2)


/ (mjuːt) archaic /

  1. (of birds) to discharge (faeces)

  1. birds' faeces

Origin of 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