from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Arousing little interest; lacking liveliness; boring.
  • adjective Not brisk or rapid; sluggish.
  • adjective Not having a sharp edge or point; blunt.
  • adjective Not intensely or keenly felt.
  • adjective Not bright, vivid, or shiny.
  • adjective Cloudy or overcast.
  • adjective Not clear or resonant.
  • adjective Intellectually weak or obtuse; stupid.
  • adjective Lacking responsiveness or alertness; insensitive.
  • adjective Dispirited; depressed.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To make or become dull.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A noose of string or wire used to snare fish; usually, a noose of bright copper wire attached by a short string to a stout pole.
  • To fish with a dull: as, to dull for trout.
  • To make dull, stupid, heavy, insensible, etc.; lessen the vigor, activity, or sensitiveness of; render inanimate; damp: as, to dull the wits; to dull the senses.
  • To render dim; sully; tarnish or cloud: as, the breath dulls a mirror.
  • To make less sharp or acute; render blunt or obtuse: as, to dull a knife or a needle.
  • To make less keenly felt; moderate the intensity of: as, to dull pain.
  • To become dull or blunt; become stupid.
  • To become calm; moderate: as, the wind dulled, or dulled down, about twelve o'clock.
  • To become deadened in color; lose brightness.
  • Stupid; foolish; doltish; blockish; slow of understanding: as, a lad of dull intellect.
  • Heavy; sluggish; drowsy; inanimate; slow in thought, expression, or action: as, a surfeit leaves one dull; a dull thinker; a dull sermon; a dull stream; trade is dull.
  • Wanting sensibility or keenness; not quick in perception: as, dull of hearing; dull of seeing.
  • Sad; melancholy; depressed; dismal.
  • Not pleasing or enlivening; not exhilarating; causing dullness or ennui; depressing; cheerless: as, dull weather; a dull prospect.
  • Gross; inanimate; insensible.
  • Not bright or clear; not vivid; dim; obscure: as, a dull fire or light; a dull red color; the mirror gives a dull reflection.
  • Not sharp or acute; obtuse; blunt: as, a dull sword; a dull needle.
  • Not keenly felt; not intense: as, a dull pain.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To deprive of sharpness of edge or point.
  • transitive verb To make dull, stupid, or sluggish; to stupefy, as the senses, the feelings, the perceptions, and the like.
  • transitive verb To render dim or obscure; to sully; to tarnish.
  • transitive verb To deprive of liveliness or activity; to render heavy; to make inert; to depress; to weary; to sadden.
  • adjective Slow of understanding; wanting readiness of apprehension; stupid; doltish; blockish.
  • adjective Slow in action; sluggish; unready; awkward.
  • adjective Insensible; unfeeling.
  • adjective Not keen in edge or point; lacking sharpness; blunt.
  • adjective Not bright or clear to the eye; wanting in liveliness of color or luster; not vivid; obscure; dim
  • adjective Heavy; gross; cloggy; insensible; spiritless; lifeless; inert.
  • adjective Furnishing little delight, spirit, or variety; uninteresting; tedious; cheerless; gloomy; melancholy; depressing; ; hence, cloudy; overcast.
  • intransitive verb To become dull or stupid.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Lacking the ability to cut easily; not sharp.
  • adjective Boring; not exciting or interesting.
  • adjective Not shiny; having a matte finish or no particular luster.
  • adjective Not bright or intelligent; stupid; slow of understanding.
  • verb transitive To render dull; to remove or blunt an edge or something that was sharp.
  • verb transitive To soften, moderate or blunt.
  • verb intransitive To lose a sharp edge; to become dull.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English dul; akin to Old English dol.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English dull, dul (also dyll, dill, dwal), from Old English dol ("dull, foolish, erring, heretical; foolish, silly; presumptuous"), from Proto-Germanic *dulaz, a variant of *dwalaz (“stunned, mad, foolish, misled”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰwel-, *dʰewel- (“to dim, dull, cloud, make obscure, swirl, whirl”). Cognate with Scots dull, doll ("slow to understand or hear, deaf, dull"), North Frisian dol ("rash, unthinking, giddy, flippant"), Dutch dol ("crazy, mad, insane"), Low German dul, dol ("mad, silly, stupid, fatuous"), German toll ("crazy, mad, wild, fantastic"), Danish dval ("foolish, absurd"), Icelandic dulur ("secretive, silent").


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  • John McGrath's eyes are fine... he really is a dull boy.

    September 7, 2009

  • "A young Woman her name was Dull."

    John Bunyan (1628-1688), Pilgrim's Progress

    September 20, 2009