dumb


dumb
dumb adj
1 Dumb, mute, speechless, inarticulate mean lacking the power to speak.
Dumb and mute are often used interchangeably, but when used in distinction from each other, dumb implies an incapacity for speech (as in the case of animals and inanimate objects or of human beings whose organs of speech are defective); mute implies an inability to speak, owing to one's never having heard speech sounds (as in the case of one who is deaf congenially or has lost his hearing before being old enough to reproduce heard sounds); thus, persons once called deaf and dumb are usually deaf-mutes who have healthy speech organs and can be trained to speak through the senses of sight and touch
{

dumb stones whereon to vent their rage— Arnold

}
{

a mute child

}
When used of persons who are normally able to speak, dumb (see also STUPID) usually suggests deprivation of the power to speak; mute stresses a compelling cause for keeping or maintaining silence
{

deep shame had struck me dumbShak.

}
{

how terrible is that dumb grief which has never learned to moan— Galsworthy

}
{

all sat mute, pondering the danger with deep thoughts— Milton

}
{

some mute inglorious Milton— Gray

}
Speechless commonly implies momentary deprivation of the power of speech
{

struck speechless with terror

}
{

I can remember, across the years, standing there with that paper in my hand; dumb, speechless, and probably tearful— White

}
Inarticulate implies either lack of the power to speak at all
{

the inarticulate people of the dead— Shelley

}
{

the inarticulate hungers of the heart— Sherman

}
or, especially, inability to speak intelligibly or clearly, usually on account of some powerful emotion but sometimes because of lack of power to express one's thoughts or feelings
{

inarticulate with rage

}
{

stood looking down on her in inarticulate despair— Wharton

}
2 dull, *stupid, slow, dense, crass
Analogous words: & Contrasted words: see those at DULL 1
Antonyms: articulate (sense 2)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dumb — Dumb, 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. [1913 Webster] To unloose the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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 — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Dumb» Canción de Nirvana álbum In Utero Publicación 21 de septiembre de 1993 …   Wikipedia Español

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

  • dumb — 1. Dumb now has such strong connotations of stupidity and low intelligence that its original meaning, ‘not able to speak’, is often regarded as offensive. To be safe, it is better to use neutral terms such as speech impaired. 2. The ailing… …   Modern English usage

  • 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 — (adj.) O.E. dumb silent, unable to speak, from PIE *dheubh confusion, stupefaction, dizziness, from root *dheu (1) dust, mist, vapor, smoke, and related notions of defective perception or wits. The Old English, Old Saxon (dumb), Gothic (dumbs),… …   Etymology dictionary

  • dumb — ► ADJECTIVE 1) unable to speak; lacking the power of speech. 2) temporarily unable or unwilling to speak. 3) informal, chiefly N. Amer. stupid. 4) (of a computer terminal) having no independent processing capability. ► VERB 1) (dumb down) N …   English terms dictionary

  • Dumb — Dumb, v. t. To put to silence. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dumb — [adj1] unable to speak at a loss for words*, inarticulate, incoherent, mousy*, mum, mute, quiet, silent, soundless, speechless, tongue tied, uncommunicative, voiceless, wordless; concept 593 Ant. speaking dumb [adj2] stupid, unintelligent dense,… …   New thesaurus


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.