follow Dictionary.com

Love words? Sign up for our Word of the Day!

dull

[duhl] /dʌl/
adjective, duller, dullest.
1.
not sharp; blunt:
a dull knife.
2.
causing boredom; tedious; uninteresting:
a dull sermon.
3.
not lively or spirited; listless.
4.
not bright, intense, or clear; dim:
a dull day; a dull sound.
5.
having very little depth of color; lacking in richness or intensity of color.
6.
slow in motion or action; not brisk; sluggish:
a dull day in the stock market.
7.
mentally slow; lacking brightness of mind; somewhat stupid; obtuse.
8.
lacking keenness of perception in the senses or feelings; insensible; unfeeling.
9.
not intense or acute:
a dull pain.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
10.
to make or become dull.
Origin
1200-1250
1200-50; Middle English; akin to Old English dol foolish, stupid; cognate with German toll
Related forms
dullness, dulness, noun
dully, adverb
undulled, adjective
Synonyms
1. Dull, blunt refer to the edge or point of an instrument, tool, or the like. Dull implies a lack or a loss of keenness or sharpness: a dull razor or saw. Blunt may mean the same or may refer to an edge or point not intended to be keen or sharp: a blunt or stub pen; a blunt foil. 2. boring, tiresome, dreary, vapid. 3. apathetic, torpid, inactive, inert. 7. unimaginative, unintelligent, stolid. Dull, blunted, slow, stupid are applied to mental qualities. Dull implies obtuseness, lack of imagination: a dull child. Blunted implies loss of original keenness of intelligence through disease, sad experience, or the like: blunted faculties. Slow applies to a sluggish intellect: a slow mind. Stupid implies slowness of mental processes, but also lack of intelligence, wisdom, prudence, etc.: a stupid person. 10. blunt, deaden, benumb; depress, dishearten, discourage.
Antonyms
1. sharp, keen. 2. interesting. 7. bright.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for dullness
  • Dogged by dullness and variable quality, they have been losing money for years.
  • At first glance, it might present as a monochrome horizon, a brown soup of unrelieved dullness.
  • Look for other tentative behaviors, or indications of sensory integration problems, dullness or hypersensitivity.
  • If this is really true, it makes his string of great films all the more remarkable-they should give dullness a new cachet.
  • The first fervor gone, a short period of dullness set in.
  • dullness is their prevailing ingredient, and the whole point consists in mispronouncing a word or in a gesture.
  • But he must have attained his present state of dullness by persistent effort.
  • It recognizes that effect's inauthenticity, its lack of novelty, even its possible dullness-and it employs the effect anyway.
  • But she looked into my eyes and must have seen something-some slight loss of vitality, a moment's dullness of expression.
  • Their best running jokes concerned the dullness of their friends' dinner parties.
British Dictionary definitions for dullness

dull

/dʌl/
adjective
1.
slow to think or understand; stupid
2.
lacking in interest
3.
lacking in perception or the ability to respond; insensitive
4.
lacking sharpness; blunt
5.
not acute, intense, or piercing
6.
(of weather) not bright or clear; cloudy
7.
not active, busy, or brisk
8.
lacking in spirit or animation; listless
9.
(of colour) lacking brilliance or brightness; sombre
10.
not loud or clear; muffled
11.
(med) (of sound elicited by percussion, esp of the chest) not resonant
verb
12.
to make or become dull
Derived Forms
dullish, adjective
dullness, dulness, noun
dully, adverb
Word Origin
Old English dol; related to Old Norse dul conceit, Old High German tol foolish, Greek tholeros confused
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for dullness

dull

adj.

c.1200, "stupid;" early 13c., "blunt, not sharp;" rare before mid-14c., apparently from Old English dol "dull-witted, foolish," or an unrecorded parallel word, or from Middle Low German dul "slow-witted," both from Proto-Germanic *dulaz (cf. Old Frisian and Old Saxon dol "foolish," Old High German tol, German toll "mad, wild," Gothic dwals "foolish"), from PIE *dheu- (1) "dust, vapor, smoke" (and related notions of "defective perception or wits"). Of color from early 15c.; of pain or other sensations from 1725. Sense of "boring" first recorded 1580s.

dull. (8) Not exhilarating; not delightful; as to make dictionaries is dull work. [Johnson]
Dullsville, slang for "town where nothing happens," attested from 1960.

v.

c.1200, "to grow weary, tire;" of pointed or edged things from c.1400; of the senses from 1550s; from dull (adj.). Related: Dulled; dulling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
dullness in Medicine

dull (dŭl)
adj. dull·er, dull·est

  1. Lacking responsiveness or alertness; insensitive.

  2. Not intensely or keenly felt, as in pain.


dull'ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with dullness

dull

In addition to the idiom beginning with dull also see: never a dull moment
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for dull

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for dullness

9
13
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with dullness

Nearby words for dullness