dumb (comparative dumber, superlative dumbest)
- (perhaps somewhat dated) Unable to speak; lacking power of speech.
- His younger brother was born dumb, and communicated with sign language.
- to unloose the very tongues even of dumb creatures
- (dated) Silent; unaccompanied by words.
- dumb show
- This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
1788 November 17, Mary Wollstonecraft, chapter 2, in Original Stories from Real Life (Children's literature), 1796 printing edition, London: J. Johnson, page 10–11:
- The country people frequently ſay,—How can you treat a poor dumb beaſt ill; and a ſtreſs is very properly laid on the word dumb; for dumb they appear to thoſe who do not obſerve their looks and geſtures; but God, who takes care of every thing, underſtands their language...
- J. C. Shairp
- to pierce into the dumb past
- (informal, pejorative, especially of a person) extremely stupid.
- You are so dumb! You don't even know how to make toast!
- (figuratively) Pointless, foolish, lacking intellectual content or value.
- This is dumb! We're driving in circles! We should have asked for directions an hour ago!
- Brendan had the dumb job of moving boxes from one conveyor belt to another.
- Lacking brightness or clearness, as a colour.
- De Foe
- Her stern was painted of a dumb white or dun color.
- (unable to speak): dumbstruck, mute, speechless, wordless
- (stupid): feeble-minded, idiotic, moronic, stupid
- (pointless, foolish, unintellectual): banal, brainless, dopey, silly, stupid, ridiculous, vulgar
unable to speak — see mute
- Arabic: غَبِيّ (ḡabiyy)
- Belarusian: дурны (durny)
- Bulgarian: тъп (bg) (tǎp)
- Catalan: estúpid (ca)
- Mandarin: 蠢 (zh) (chǔn), 笨 (zh) (bèn)
- Czech: debilní (cs), blbý (cs)
- Danish: dum (da), åndssvag
- Dutch: dom (nl), stom (nl)
- Finnish: typerä (fi), idioottimainen
- French: stupide (fr), débile (fr), idiot (fr), niais (fr)
- German: dumm (de), idiotisch
- Greek: χαζός (el) (chazós)
- Hungarian: ostoba (hu), hülye (hu)
- Indonesian: bego (id), dungu (id)
- Italian: stupido (it)
- Japanese: 愚かな (ja) (おろかな, oroka na), ばかな (ja) (ばかな, baka na)
- Javanese: pekok (jv), goblog (jv)
- Sorani: بێعهقڵ
- Latin: stupidus
- Lithuanian: (slang, barbarism) durnas m, kvailas m
- Low German: dumm (nds)
- Persian: کودن (fa) (kodan), دبنگ (fa) (dabang)
- Portuguese: burro (pt) m
- Russian: тупо́й (ru) (tupój), глу́пый (ru) (glúpyj), дурно́й (ru) (durnój)
- Spanish: estúpido (es)
- Sundanese: belegug
- Swedish: korkad (sv), dum (sv)
- Turkish: aptal (tr)
- Walloon: loigne (wa) m, f, boubiet m, wargnasse (wa) m, f
pointless or unintellectual
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 *dumbijaną, *dumbōną (“to be silent, become dumb”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeubʰ- (“to whisk, smoke, darken, obscure”). Cognate with German verdummen (“to become dumb”).
dumb (third-person singular simple present dumbs, present participle dumbing, simple past and past participle dumbed)
- To silence.
- 1911, Lindsay Swift, William Lloyd Garrison, p. 272,
- The paralysis of the Northern conscience, the dumbing of the Northern voice, were coming to an end.
- (transitive) To make stupid.
- 2003, Angela Calabrese Barton, Teaching Science for Social Justice, p. 124,
- I think she's dumbing us down, so we won't be smarter than her.
- (transitive) To represent as stupid.
- 2004, Stephen Oppenheimer, The Real Eve: Modern Man's Journey Out of Africa, p. 107,
- Bad-mouthing Neanderthals . . . is symptomatic of a need to exclude and even demonize. . . . I suggest that the unproven dumbing of the Neanderthals is an example of the same cultural preconception.
- (transitive) To reduce the intellectual demands of.
- 2002, Deborah Meier, In Schools We Trust: Creating Communities of Learning in an Era of Testing, p. 126,
- The ensuing storm caused the department to lower the bar—amid protests that this was dumbing the test down—so that only 80 percent of urban kids would fail.
Terms derived from the adjective or verb "dumb"