dumb down


adjective, dumber, dumbest.
lacking intelligence or good judgment; stupid; dull-witted.
lacking the power of speech (offensive when applied to humans): a dumb animal.
temporarily unable to speak: dumb with astonishment.
refraining from any or much speech; silent.
made, done, etc., without speech.
lacking some usual property, characteristic, etc.
performed in pantomime; mimed.
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 ).
(of a barge) without means of propulsion.
(of any craft) without means of propulsion, steering, or signaling.
Verb phrases
dumb down, Informal. to make or become less intellectual, simpler, or less sophisticated: to dumb down a textbook; American movies have dumbed down.

before 1000; Old English; cognate with Old Norse dumbr, Gothic dumbs, Old Saxon dumb, Old High German tump, German dumm

dumbly, adverb
dumbness, noun
quasi-dumb, adjective
quasi-dumbly, adverb

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.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
dumb (dʌm)
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
 a.  slow to understand; dim-witted
 b.  See also dumb down foolish; stupid
8.  (of a projectile or bomb) not guided to its target
[Old English; related to Old Norse dumbr, Gothic dumbs, Old High German tump]

dumb down
(tr) to make or become less intellectually demanding or sophisticated: attempts to dumb down news coverage

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  dumb down1
Part of Speech:  vt
Definition:  to prepare for a less intelligent audience; to make simpler or less difficult
Etymology:  1933-38
Usage:  slang; dumbed-down, adj; dumbing-down, n
Main Entry:  dumb down2
Part of Speech:  vi
Definition:  to become less sophisticated or intellectual
Etymology:  1933-38
Usage:  slang; dumbed-down, adj; dumbing-down, n
Main Entry:  dumb down3
Part of Speech:  vi
Definition:  to act less intelligent than one is
Etymology:  1933-38
Usage:  slang; dumbed-down, adj; dumbing-down, n
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin & History

O.E. dumb "silent, unable to speak," from PIE *dheubh- "confusion, stupefaction, dizziness." O.E., Goth. (thumb) and O.N. (dumbr) forms meant only "mute, speechless;" in O.H.G. (thumb) it meant both this and "stupid," and in Mod.Ger. this latter became the only sense. Meaning "foolish, ignorant" was
occasionally in English from early 14c., but modern use (1823) comes from influence of Ger. dumm. Related: dumber; dumbest. Applied to silent contrivances, hence dumbwaiter. To dumb down is from 1933.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Dumb definition

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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