Webster 1913 Edition



Silent; mute; noiseless; as a dummy engine.
Fictitious or sham; feigned;
as, a
Dummy car
See under


One who is dumb.
H. Smith.
A sham package in a shop, or one which does not contain what its exterior indicates.
An imitation or copy of something, to be used as a substitute; a model; a lay figure; as, a figure on which clothing is exhibited in shop windows; a blank paper copy used to show the size of the future book, etc.
One who plays a merely nominal part in any action; a sham character.
A locomotive with condensing engines, and, hence, without the noise of escaping steam; also, a dummy car.
(Card Playing)
The fourth or exposed hand when three persons play at a four-handed game of cards.
A floating barge connected with a pier.

Definition 2021





dummy (plural dummies)

  1. A silent person; a person who does not talk.
  2. An unintelligent person.
    Don't be such a dummy!
  3. A figure of a person or animal used by a ventriloquist; a puppet.
  4. Something constructed with the size and form of a human, to be used in place of a person.
    To understand the effects of the accident, we dropped a dummy from the rooftop.
  5. A deliberately nonfunctional device or tool used in place of a functional one.
    The hammer and drill in the display are dummies.
  6. (Australia, Britain, New Zealand) A "dummy teat"; a plastic or rubber teat used to soothe or comfort a baby; a pacifier. [from 20th c.]
    The baby wants her dummy.
    • 2006, Tizzie Hall, Save Our Sleep: A Parents′ Guide Towards Happy, Sleeping Babies from Birth to Two Years, MacMillan 2009, page 200,
      Then on the fifth day, at the first sleep of the day, remove the dummy and follow my settling guide for your baby′s age. You should throw all her dummies in the bin to ensure you are not tempted to use them again – even outside sleep times.
    • 2008, Bern, Bern's Fairy Tales, page 15,
      No Fairy baby has ever been seen to suck its thumb or to use a dummy.
    • 2011, Simone Cave, Caroline Fertleman, Baby to Toddler Month by Month, page 85,
      We′ve found that going cold turkey works best – you check that your baby isn't ill or teething, then throw all dummies away. When your baby cries for her dummy, you can look her in the eye and say, ‘It′s gone,’ and really mean it.
  7. (card games, chiefly bridge) A player whose hand is shown and is to be played from by another player.
  8. (Britain) A bodily gesture meant to fool an opposing player in sport; a feint.
    • 2011 January 12, Saj Chowdhury, “Liverpool 2 - 1 Liverpool”, in BBC:
      Raul Meireles was the victim of the home side's hustling on this occasion giving the ball away to the impressive David Vaughan who slipped in Taylor-Fletcher. The striker sold Daniel Agger with the best dummy of the night before placing his shot past keeper Pepe Reina.
  9. (linguistics) A word serving only to make a construction grammatical.
    The pronoun "it" in "It's a mystery why this happened" is a dummy.
  10. (programming) An unused parameter or value.
    If flag1 is false, the other parameters are dummies.


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dummy (third-person singular simple present dummies, present participle dummying, simple past and past participle dummied)

  1. To make a mock-up or prototype version of something, without some or all off its intended functionality.
    The carpenters dummied some props for the rehearsals.
  2. To feint
    • 2011 February 1, Mandeep Sanghera, “Man Utd 3 - 1 Aston Villa”, in BBC:
      The more glamorous qualities usually associated with him are skill and pace and he used those to race on to a ball across him and dummy a defender before having a right-foot shot saved.
    • 2011 January 15, Kevin Darling, “West Ham 0 - 3 Arsenal”, in BBC:
      For the first, the 30-year-old allowed Walcott space on the right to send in a pass that was expertly dummied by Samir Nasri, allowing Van Persie to swivel and smash right-footed past Robert Green.

Derived terms