dull


dull
dull adj
1 *stupid, slow, dumb, dense, crass
Analogous words: *lethargic, sluggish, comatose: phlegmatic, stolid, *impassive, apathetic: *backward: retarded (see DELAY vb)
Antonyms: clever, bright
Contrasted words: intelligent, alert, quickwitted, smart, brilliant, knowing
2 Dull, blunt, obtuse are comparable when they mean the reverse of sharp, keen, and acute.
As used of things, especially of tools, weapons, and instruments, dull refers to either an edge or a point that has lost its sharpness by use
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a dull knife

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a dull razor

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a dull pencil

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Blunt refers to an edge or point that through use, nature, or intention, is not sharp or keen
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use the blunt side of the knife in prying

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an ax is a blunt instrument as compared with a razor, but its edge should not be allowed to become dull through use

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Obtuse applies to the shape of something whose sides converge at an angle that is broader than a right angle or to a thing terminating in a broad blunt point
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the obtuse apex of a wing

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an obtuse leaf

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In the extended senses of these words, dull (see also STUPID) is the most widely applicable and the richest as well as the most variable in its connotations. It implies, in general, a lack or the loss of what gives keenness, intensity, or activity
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a dull pain

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dull red

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a dull market

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dull anger

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Blunt (see BLUFF for application to manners and utterances) usually implies a lack of edge or point in the figurative senses of these words. Often, it refers to a person's powers of perception or to his sensibilities, which normally should be sharp or keen
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she ... is blunt in perception and feeling, and quite destitute of imagination— Bradley

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to the age of twelve ... all my emotions were wholesomely undeveloped and blunt, never at any point exasperated into acute sensibility— Ellis

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It may also apply to matters (as contrasts, critical judgments, and analyses) normally requiring sharp distinction or differentiation and then imply exceptional conciseness and corresponding loss of fine detail
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the function of diplomacy, in the bluntest analysis, is to get what you want— Newsweek

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Obtuse suggests such bluntness of perception or sensibilities as makes one insensitive to emotions or ideas
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there was, one vaguely feels, something a little obtuse about Dr. Burney. The eager, kind, busy man, with his head full of music and his desk stuffed with notes, lacked discrimination— Woolf

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an obtuse insensibility to the rich and subtle variety of human relations— Cohen

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Antonyms: sharp (edge, point): poignant (sensation, feeling, reaction): lively (action or activity)
3 Dull, humdrum, dreary, monotonous, pedestrian, stodgy mean so unvaried and uninteresting as to provoke boredom or tedium.
Dull (see also STUPID) implies the lack of all that gives brightness, edge, or point to the person or thing; it need not imply inferiority, but it does suggest, from the point of view of one who judges, a want of interesting character
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compared with her, other women were ... dull; even the pretty ones seemed lifeless— Cather

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for instance, you draw no inference from your facts. It's dull. Why not round the thing off into a good article?— Rose Macaulay

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Humdrum implies a commonplace and routine character; it suggests a lack of variation that persists and colors the life or the people who lead that life
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a plain, humdrum domestic life, with eight hundred a year, and a small house, full of babies— Trollope

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they regarded their adversaries as humdrum people, slaves to routine, enemies to light— A mold

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Dreary (see also DISMAL) applies to something that from the writer's or speaker's point of view seems uninteresting and dull; the word may imply an absence of enlivening character in the thing itself but more often it reveals an attitude of mind
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I see that many people find the world dreary—and, indeed, there must be spaces of dreariness in it for us all —some find it interesting— Benson

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Monotonous implies an irksome sameness (as of what never changes in quality, character, or appearance); it may be widely applied (as to work, to play, to persons, to scenes, or to noises)
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incessant recurrence without variety breeds tedium; the overiterated becomes the monotonousLowes

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we may thus bring a little poetry and romance into the monotonous lives of our handworkers— Inge

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the sky was as full of motion and change as the desert beneath it was monotonous and still— Cather

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Pedestrian, which basically means walking on foot, is applied chiefly to something written, especially in verse, that lacks any quality '(as originality in thought or freshness in expression or in imagery) which raises the spirits and that, therefore, is monotonous and uninspired; the term may connote a dull prosaic quality and implies the impossibility of lifting the reader's thoughts, emotions, or imagination
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who wandering with pedestrian muses, contend not with you on the winged steed— Byron

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Crane's verse is of a very pedestrian order— Sidney Lee

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Stodgy, which also implies the lack of a quality which inspirits or inspires, is wider in its application, for it emphasizes the heaviness, the solidity, or the lumpishness of something (as a person, a book, or an affair) that should be lighter, brighter, or gayer
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a stodgy discussion

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the reception was a stodgy affair

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in England, art must be obvious and stodgy before people think it's respectable— Guy Thome

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Analogous words: *irksome, tiresome, wearisome, tedious, boring: prosy, *prosaic, matter-of-fact
Antonyms: lively
Contrasted words: gay, animated, sprightly (see LIVELY): exciting, stimulating (see PROVOKE)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dull — Dull, a. [Compar. {Duller}; superl. {Dullest}.] [AS. dol foolish; akin to gedwelan to err, D. dol mad, dwalen to wander, err, G. toll mad, Goth. dwals foolish, stupid, cf. Gr. ? turbid, troubled, Skr. dhvr to cause to fall. Cf. {Dolt}, {Dwale},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dull — [dul] adj. [ME dul < OE dol, stupid, akin to Ger toll < IE * dh(e)wel < base * dheu , blow, be turbid > DUMB, DWELL, OIr dall, blind, Gr thanatos, death] 1. mentally slow; stupid 2. lacking sensitivity; blunted in feeling or… …   English World dictionary

  • Dull —    DULL, a parish, in the county of Perth, 4 miles (W. by N.) from Aberfeldy; containing, with parts of the late quoad sacra parishes of Foss and Tenandry, and part of the village of Aberfeldy, 3811 inhabitants, of whom 145 are in the village of… …   A Topographical dictionary of Scotland

  • dull — [dʌl] adjective JOURNALISM if business on a financial market is dull, not many people are buying or selling: • Shares closed lower in dull trading. • Investors were busy moving in and out of two year Treasury notes yesterday, providing a bit of… …   Financial and business terms

  • Dull — may refer to: Boring Dull, Perth and Kinross, Scotland, United Kingdom Dull Gret, a figure of Flemish folklore People with the surname Dull: Jack Dull (1930 1995), professor at the University of Washington John Dull (21st century), American… …   Wikipedia

  • dull — [adj1] unintelligent addled, backward, besotted, boring, brainless, daffy, daft, dense, dim, dim witted, doltish, dumb, feeble minded, half baked, ignorant, imbecilic, indolent, insensate, low, moronic, not bright, numskulled, obtuse,… …   New thesaurus

  • Düll — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Heinrich Düll (1867–1956), deutscher Bildhauer und Musiker der Prinzregentenzeit Rudolf Düll (1887–1979), deutscher Jurist Ruprecht Düll (* 1931), deutscher Botaniker Siehe auch Privatbrauerei Friedrich… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Dull — Dull, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Duller}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Dulling}.] 1. To deprive of sharpness of edge or point. This . . . dulled their swords. Bacon. [1913 Webster] Borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To make dull, stupid …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dull — (adj.) c.1200, stupid; early 13c., blunt, not sharp; rare before mid 14c., apparently from O.E. dol dull witted, foolish, or an unrecorded parallel word, or from M.L.G. dul slow witted, both from P.Gmc. *dulaz (Cf. O.Fris., O.S. dol foolish,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Dull — Dull, v. i. To become dull or stupid. Rom. of R. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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