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

  • adj. Lacking the power of speech. Used of animals and inanimate objects.
  • adj. Often Offensive Incapable of using speech; mute. Used of humans. See Usage Note at mute.
  • adj. Temporarily speechless, as with shock or fear: I was dumb with disbelief.
  • adj. Unwilling to speak; taciturn.
  • adj. Not expressed or articulated in sounds or words: dumb resentment.
  • adj. Nautical Not self-propelling.
  • adj. Conspicuously unintelligent; stupid: dumb officials; a dumb decision.
  • adj. Unintentional; haphazard: dumb luck.
  • transitive v. To make silent or dumb.
  • down Slang To rewrite for a less educated or less sophisticated audience.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Unable to speak; lacking power of speech.
  • adj. extremely stupid.
  • adj. Pointless, foolish, lacking intellectual content or value.
  • v. To silence.
  • v. To make stupid.
  • v. To represent as stupid.
  • v. To reduce the intellectual demands of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Destitute of the power of speech; unable; to utter articulate sounds.
  • adj. Not willing to speak; mute; silent; not speaking; not accompanied by words.
  • adj. Lacking brightness or clearness, as a color.
  • transitive v. To put to silence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Mute; silent; refraining from speech.
  • Destitute of the power of speech; unable to utter articulate sounds: as, a deaf and dumb person; the dumb brutes.
  • Mute; not accompanied with or emitting speech or sound: as, a dumb show; dumb signs.
  • Hence Lacking some usual power, manifestation, characteristic, or accompaniment; destitute of reality in some respect; irregular; simulative: as, dumb ague; dumb craft. See phrases below.
  • Dull; stupid; doltish.
  • Deficient in clearness or brightness, as a color.
  • Synonyms and Mute, etc. See silent.
  • To become dumb; be silent.
  • To make dumb; silence; overpower the sound of.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. temporarily incapable of speaking
  • adj. unable to speak because of hereditary deafness
  • adj. slow to learn or understand; lacking intellectual acuity
  • adj. lacking the power of human speech


Middle English, from Old English.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English dumb, from Old English dumb ("silent, silent, speechless, mute, unable to speak"), from Proto-Germanic *dumbaz (“dull, dumb”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeubʰ- (“to whisk, smoke, darken, obscure”). Cognate with Scots dumb ("dumb, silent"), North Frisian dom, domme ("dumb, stupid"), West Frisian dom ("dumb, stupid"), Dutch dom ("dumb, stupid"), German dumm ("dumb, stupid"), Swedish dum ("stupid"), Icelandic dumbur ("dumb, mute"). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English dumbien, from Old English dumbian (more commonly in compound ādumbian ("to become mute or dumb; keep silence; hold one’s peace")), from Proto-Germanic *dumbēnan, *dumbōnan (“to be silent, become dumb”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeubʰ- (“to whisk, smoke, darken, obscure”). Cognate with German dummen ("to become dumb"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Example sentence: this website is dumb.

    June 14, 2012