I. adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German tumb mute Date: before 12th century 1. a. lacking the human power of speech <
dumb animals
b. of a person, often offensive lacking the ability to speak 2. temporarily unable to speak (as from shock or astonishment) <
struck dumb with fear
3. not expressed in uttered words <
dumb grief
4. silent; also taciturn 5. lacking some usual attribute or accompaniment; especially having no means of self-propulsion <
a dumb barge
6. a. lacking intelligence ; stupid b. showing a lack of intelligence <
asking dumb questions
c. requiring no intelligence <
dumb luck
7. not having the capability to process data <
a dumb terminal
— compare intelligent 3a Synonyms: see stupiddumbly adverbdumbness noun Usage: There is evidence that, when applied to persons who cannot speak, dumb has come to be considered offensive. II. transitive verb Date: 1607 to make silent ; deaden <
would lie around, dumbed by the drugs — Norman Mailer

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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

  • Dumb — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Dumb» Canción de Nirvana álbum In Utero Publicación 21 de septiembre de 1993 …   Wikipedia Español

  • dumb — dumb; dumb·found; dumb·found·er; dumb·ly; dumb·ness; dumb·found·ed·ly; …   English syllables

  • 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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