Dumb Dumb, a. [AS. dumb; akin to D. dom stupid, dumb, Sw. dumb, Goth. dumbs; cf. Gr. ? blind. See {Deaf}, and cf. {Dummy}.] 1. Destitute of the power of speech; unable; to utter articulate sounds; as, the dumb brutes. [1913 Webster]

To unloose the very tongues even of dumb creatures. --Hooker. [1913 Webster]

2. Not willing to speak; mute; silent; not speaking; not accompanied by words; as, dumb show. [1913 Webster]

This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

To pierce into the dumb past. -- J. C. Shairp. [1913 Webster]

3. Lacking brightness or clearness, as a color. [R.] [1913 Webster]

Her stern was painted of a dumb white or dun color. --De Foe. [1913 Webster]

{Deaf and dumb}. See {Deaf-mute}.

{Dumb ague}, or {Dumb chill}, a form of intermittent fever which has no well-defined ``chill.'' [U.S.]

{Dumb animal}, any animal except man; -- usually restricted to a domestic quadruped; -- so called in contradistinction to man, who is a ``speaking animal.''

{Dumb cake}, a cake made in silence by girls on St. Mark's eve, with certain mystic ceremonies, to discover their future husbands. --Halliwell.

{Dumb cane} (Bot.), a west Indian plant of the Arum family ({Dieffenbachia seguina}), which, when chewed, causes the tongue to swell, and destroys temporarily the power of speech.

{Dumb crambo}. See under {crambo}.

{Dumb show}. (a) Formerly, a part of a dramatic representation, shown in pantomime. ``Inexplicable dumb shows and noise.'' --Shak. (b) Signs and gestures without words; as, to tell a story in dumb show.

{To strike dumb}, to confound; to astonish; to render silent by astonishment; or, it may be, to deprive of the power of speech.

Syn: Silent; speechless; noiseless. See {Mute}. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • dumb — adj 1 Dumb, mute, speechless, inarticulate mean lacking the power to speak. Dumb and mute are often used interchangeably, but when used in distinction from each other, dumb implies an incapacity for speech (as in the case of animals and inanimate …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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  • dumb — 1. Dumb now has such strong connotations of stupidity and low intelligence that its original meaning, ‘not able to speak’, is often regarded as offensive. To be safe, it is better to use neutral terms such as speech impaired. 2. The ailing… …   Modern English usage

  • dumb — dəm adj 1) lacking the human power of speech <dumb animals> 2) of a person often offensive lacking the ability to speak dumb·ly dəm lē adv dumb·ness n …   Medical dictionary

  • dumb — (adj.) O.E. dumb silent, unable to speak, from PIE *dheubh confusion, stupefaction, dizziness, from root *dheu (1) dust, mist, vapor, smoke, and related notions of defective perception or wits. The Old English, Old Saxon (dumb), Gothic (dumbs),… …   Etymology dictionary

  • dumb — ► ADJECTIVE 1) unable to speak; lacking the power of speech. 2) temporarily unable or unwilling to speak. 3) informal, chiefly N. Amer. stupid. 4) (of a computer terminal) having no independent processing capability. ► VERB 1) (dumb down) N …   English terms dictionary

  • Dumb — Dumb, v. t. To put to silence. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dumb — [adj1] unable to speak at a loss for words*, inarticulate, incoherent, mousy*, mum, mute, quiet, silent, soundless, speechless, tongue tied, uncommunicative, voiceless, wordless; concept 593 Ant. speaking dumb [adj2] stupid, unintelligent dense,… …   New thesaurus

  • dumb — [dum] adj. [ME & OE, akin to Ger dumm (Goth dumbs), mute, stupid < nasalized var. of IE * dheubh < base * dheu : see DULL] 1. lacking the power of speech; mute: now regarded as offensive 2. unwilling to talk; silent 3. not accompanied by… …   English World dictionary

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