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dumb

[duhm] /dʌm/
adjective, dumber, dumbest.
1.
lacking intelligence or good judgment; stupid; dull-witted.
2.
lacking the power of speech (offensive when applied to humans):
a dumb animal.
3.
temporarily unable to speak:
dumb with astonishment.
4.
refraining from any or much speech; silent.
5.
made, done, etc., without speech.
6.
lacking some usual property, characteristic, etc.
7.
performed in pantomime; mimed.
8.
Computers. pertaining to the inability to do processing locally:
A dumb terminal can input, output, and display data, but cannot process it.
Compare intelligent (def 4).
9.
Nautical.
  1. (of a barge) without means of propulsion.
  2. (of any craft) without means of propulsion, steering, or signaling.
Verb phrases
10.
dumb down, Informal. to make or become less intellectual, simpler, or less sophisticated:
to dumb down a textbook; American movies have dumbed down.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Old English; cognate with Old Norse dumbr, Gothic dumbs, Old Saxon dumb, Old High German tump, German dumm
Related forms
dumbly, adverb
dumbness, noun
quasi-dumb, adjective
quasi-dumbly, adverb
Usage note
Dumb in the sense “lacking the power of speech” is perceived as insulting when describing humans (but not animals), probably because dumb also means “stupid; dull-witted.” The noun dummy in the sense “person who lacks the power of speech” is also perceived as insulting, as are the terms deaf-and-dumb, deaf-mute, and mute. The adjective hearing-impaired is acceptable though not the term of choice, partly because it lacks directness. The preferred term is deaf, which makes no reference to an inability to speak or communicate; the capitalized Deaf signals membership in this community.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for dumb

dumb

/dʌm/
adjective
1.
lacking the power to speak, either because of defects in the vocal organs or because of hereditary deafness
2.
lacking the power of human speech: dumb animals
3.
temporarily lacking or bereft of the power to speak: struck dumb
4.
refraining from speech; uncommunicative
5.
producing no sound; silent: a dumb piano
6.
made, done, or performed without speech
7.
(informal)
  1. slow to understand; dim-witted
  2. foolish; stupid See also dumb down
8.
(of a projectile or bomb) not guided to its target
Derived Forms
dumbly, adverb
dumbness, noun
Word Origin
Old English; related to Old Norse dumbr, Gothic dumbs, Old High German tump
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dumb
adj.

Old English 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), and Old Norse (dumbr) forms of the word meant only "mute, speechless;" in Old High German (thumb) it meant both this and "stupid," and in Modern German this latter became the only sense. Meaning "foolish, ignorant" was occasionally in Middle English, but modern use (1823) comes from influence of German dumm. Related: dumber; dumbest.

Applied to silent contrivances, hence dumbwaiter. As a verb, in late Old English, "to become mute;" c.1600, "to make mute." To dumb (something) down is from 1933.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dumb

dumb

adjective

Stupid; mentally sluggish; dim: You think I'm pretty dumb, don't you? (1823+)

adj,adv

damn, darn (1787+)

[fr Pennsylvania German dumm]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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dumb in the Bible

from natural infirmity (Ex. 4:11); not knowing what to say (Prov. 31:8); unwillingness to speak (Ps. 39:9; Lev. 10:3). Christ repeatedly restored the dumb (Matt. 9:32, 33; Luke 11:14; Matt. 12:22) to the use of speech.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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