9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dim] /dɪm/
adjective, dimmer, dimmest.
not bright; obscure from lack of light or emitted light:
a dim room; a dim flashlight.
not seen clearly or in detail; indistinct:
a dim object in the distance.
not clear to the mind; vague:
a dim idea.
not brilliant; dull in luster:
a dim color.
not clear or distinct to the senses; faint:
a dim sound.
not seeing clearly:
eyes dim with tears.
tending to be unfavorable; not likely to happen, succeed, be favorable, etc.:
a dim chance of winning.
not understanding clearly.
rather stupid; dim-witted.
verb (used with object), dimmed, dimming.
to make dim or dimmer.
to switch (the headlights of a vehicle) from the high to the low beam.
verb (used without object), dimmed, dimming.
to become or grow dim or dimmer.
Verb phrases
dim out, (in wartime) to reduce the night illumination of (a city, ship, etc.) to make it less visible from the air or sea, as a protection from enemy aircraft or ships.
take a dim view of, to regard with disapproval, skepticism, or dismay:
Her mother takes a dim view of her choice of friends.
Origin of dim
before 1000; Middle English, Old English dim(me), cognate with Old Frisian dim, Old Norse dimmr
Related forms
dimly, adverb
dimmable, adjective
dimness, noun
undim, adjective
undimly, adverb
undimmed, adjective
1. See dark. 3. unclear, faint, indefinite, indistinct, fuzzy, hazy. 10. darken, cloud. 12. dull, fade.


(in prescriptions) one-half.
< Latin dīmidius

dim.2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dim
  • First, the economic outlook has continued to dim for college graduates.
  • Both cones and rods participate in dark adaptation, slowly increasing their sensitivity to light in a dim environment.
  • Beyond that welcome, the bones of six million people line the dim tunnels.
  • So often it slips past everyone as a useful thing to do or know, and oversight from individual advisors can be pretty dim.
  • These plate-size organs allow a squid to see dim outlines of other animals.
  • Simple to prepare, and a typical end to a dim sum meal, but the key is freshness of the greens.
  • Switching back to clear, once inside a dim room, took a little longer: eight minutes.
  • But the gas and dust cloud are dim and should be viewed through binoculars.
  • Prospects for winning even two more games this year seem dim.
  • But there are ways to dim our influential lights, the scientists say.
British Dictionary definitions for dim


adjective dimmer, dimmest
badly illuminated: a dim room
not clearly seen; indistinct; faint: a dim shape
having weak or indistinct vision: eyes dim with tears
lacking in understanding; mentally dull
not clear in the mind; obscure: a dim memory
lacking in brilliance, brightness, or lustre: a dim colour
tending to be unfavourable; gloomy or disapproving (esp in the phrase take a dim view)
verb dims, dimming, dimmed
to become or cause to become dim
(transitive) to cause to seem less bright, as by comparison
(US & Canadian) (transitive) to switch (car headlights) from the main to the lower beam Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) dip
Derived Forms
dimly, adverb
dimness, noun
Word Origin
Old English dimm; related to Old Norse dimmr gloomy, dark
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 dim

Old English dimm "dark, gloomy, obscure," from Proto-Germanic *dimbaz (cf. Old Norse dimmr, Old Frisian dim, Old High German timber "dark, black, somber"). Not known outside Germanic. Slang sense of "stupid" is from 1892. Related: Dimly; dimness.


c.1200, perhaps in Old English, from dim (adj.). Related: Dimmed; dimming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dim in Medicine

dim. abbr.
Latin dimidius (half)

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for dim



Stupid; uncomprehending: Anybody who pays to watch these teams has to be considered just a bit dim (1892+)

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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dim in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Related Abbreviations for dim


  1. dimension
  2. diminished
  3. diminuendo
  4. diminutive
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with dim


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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