- IPA: /dʌm/
- Rhymes: -ʌm
- Unable to speak; lacking power of speech .
- ( informal, pejorative, especially of a person ) extremely stupid .
- ( figuratively ) Pointless, foolish, lacking intellectual content or value .
- ( unable to speak ): dumbstruck, mute, speechless, wordless
- ( extremely stupid ): feeble-minded, idiotic, moronic, stupid
- ( pointless, foolish, unintellectual ): banal, brainless, dopey, silly, stupid, ridiculous, vulgar
- To silence.
- ( transitive ) To make stupid.
- ( transitive ) To represent as stupid.
- ( transitive ) To reduce the intellectual demands of.
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” ) .
In ordinary spoken English, a phrase like "He is dumb" is interpreted as "He is stupid" rather than "He lacks the power of speech". The latter example, however, is the original sense of the word. The senses of stupid, unintellectual, and pointless developed under the influence of the German word dumm ( which itself derives from Old High German tumb ) .
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” ) .
Explanation of dumb by Wordnet Dictionary
- dumb animals
- struck dumb
- Dumb ( dŭm ), 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”.
To unloose the very tongues even of dumb creatures. Hooker.
2. Not willing to speak; mute; silent; not speaking; not accompanied by words; as, “dumb show”.
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him. Shak.
To pierce into the dumb past. J. C. Shairp.
3. Lacking brightness or clearness, as a color. [R.]
Her stern was painted of a dumb white or dun color. De Foe.
4. Lacking intelligence; having poor judgment; stupid; dull-witted; -- of persons.
5. Exhibiting poor judgment or lack of wisdom; leading predictably to unfavorable consequences; -- of actions.
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. Formerly, a part of a dramatic representation, shown in pantomime. “Inexplicable dumb shows and noise.” Shak. 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.
- Dumb, v. t. To put to silence. [Obs.] Shak.
Definition of dumb by GCIDE Dictionary