dumb´ness


dumb´ness
dumb «duhm», adjective, verb.
–adj.
1. not able to speak: »

dumb animals. Helen Keller learned to speak; she was blind and deaf but not dumb.

2. silenced for the moment by fear, surprise, shyness, or other emotion: »

She was struck dumb with astonishment.

3. unwilling to speak; silent; not speaking: »

Yet should you bid me name him, I am dumb (Edna St. Vincent Millay).

SYNONYM(S): taciturn, reticent.
4. Informal. slow in understanding; stupid; dull. SYNONYM(S): foolish.
5. not characterized by or accompanied by speech, words, or sound: »

dumb gestures. A land where newspapers were dumb From scandal and from scare (Andrw Lang).

6. lacking some property, quality, or accompaniment normally belonging to others of the same type: »

A dumb barge or craft is one without sails or propelling power.

–v.t. dumb down, U.S. Informal.
to make less intelligent; lower the intellectual level of: »

They are generally blamed…as having been a major force in dumbing down textbooks nationwide (Atlanta Constitution).

[Old English dumb; (definition 4) influenced by German dumm stupid]
dumb´ly, adverb.
dumb´ness, noun.
Synonym Study 1, 2 Dumb, mute, speechless mean without speech. Dumb means without the power of speech, and although often used interchangeably with mute and speechless, it is the term applied particularly to animals: »

Even intelligent animals are dumb.

Mute emphasizes being silent for some strong reason, and applies particularly to people who have never been able to speak because they were born deaf or became deaf in very early life and have never or practically never heard sounds: »

Many mute children now are taught to speak.

Speechless applies particularly to someone who is temporarily unable to talk because of emotion, surprise, or the like: »

His remark left me speechless with rage.


Useful english dictionary. 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • dumb´ly — dumb «duhm», adjective, verb. –adj. 1. not able to speak: »dumb animals. Helen Keller learned to speak; she was blind and deaf but not dumb. 2. silenced for the moment by fear, surprise, shyness, or other emotion: »She was struck dumb with… …   Useful english dictionary

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

  • 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 — [[t]dʌm[/t]] adj. er, est, v. usage: dumb in the sense “lacking the power of speech” is offensive when applied to humans (but not animals), probably because the word also means “stupid; dull witted.” The noun dummy in the sense “a person who… …   From formal English to slang

  • speech´less|ness — speech|less «SPEECH lihs», adjective. 1. not able to speak for a time: »He was speechless with anger. SYNONYM(S): See syn. under dumb. (Cf. ↑dumb) 2. not able to speak; mute or dumb: »Animals are speechless. SYNONYM(S): See syn. unde …   Useful english dictionary

  • mute´ness — mute «myoot», adjective, noun, verb, mut|ed, mut|ing. –adj. 1. not making any sound; silent: »The little girl stood mute with embarrassment. Mute did the minstrels stand To hear my story (Longfellow). Mute was the room mute the house (Charlotte… …   Useful english dictionary

  • com´mon|place´ness — com|mon|place «KOM uhn PLAYS», noun, adjective. –n. 1. a) an everyday thing: »Forty years ago television was a rare novelty; today it is a commonplace. b) anything lacking originality: »Be not content with the commonplace in character any more… …   Useful english dictionary

  • in|ar|tic´u|late|ness — in|ar|tic|u|late «IHN ahr TIHK yuh liht», adjective, noun. –adj. 1. not distinct; not uttered in distinct syllables or words; not like regular speech: »When they called to him they heard only an inarticulate mutter. A baby makes inarticulate… …   Useful english dictionary

  • si´lent|ness — si|lent «SY luhnt», adjective, noun. –adj. 1. quiet; still; noiseless: »a silent house, the silent hills. SYNONYM(S): hushed. 2. not speaking; saying little or nothing: »Pupils must be silent in the study hour. He was silent about his early life …   Useful english dictionary

  • voice´less|ness — voice|less «VOYS lihs», adjective. 1. having no voice; lacking the power of speech; dumb; silent. 2. not expressed or uttered; unspoken: »voiceless indignation. 3. lacking any voice or singing ability. 4. having no voice or vote, as in the… …   Useful english dictionary