I was dumb with disbelief.
A dumb computer terminal.
His younger brother was born dumb, and communicated with sign language.
You are so dumb! You don't even know how to make toast!
An example of dumb is the voice of an animal which does not include words.
An example of dumb is what you might call a decision that was made based on the wrong assumptions.
Dumb officials; a dumb decision.
- To make or become less intelligent or intellectually demanding.
Idioms and Phrasal Verbs
Origin of dumb
- Middle English from Old English
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Middle English dumb, from Old English dumb (“silent, silent, speechless, mute, unable to speak”), from Proto-Germanic *dumbaz (“dull, dumb”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeubʰ- (“to whisk, smoke, darken, obscure”). Cognate with Scots dumb (“dumb, silent”), North Frisian dom, domme (“dumb, stupid”), West Frisian dom (“dumb, stupid”), Dutch dom (“dumb, stupid”), German dumm (“dumb, stupid”), Swedish dum (“stupid”), Icelandic dumbur (“dumb, mute”).
- From Middle English dumbien, from Old English dumbian (more commonly in compound ādumbian (“to become mute or dumb; keep silence; hold one’s peace”)), from Proto-Germanic *dumbēną, *dumbōną (“to be silent, become dumb”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeubʰ- (“to whisk, smoke, darken, obscure”). Cognate with German dummen (“to become dumb”).
- In ordinary spoken English, a phrase like "He is dumb" is interpreted as "He is stupid" rather than "He lacks the power of speech". The latter example, however, is the original sense of the word. The senses of stupid, unintellectual, and pointless developed under the influence of the German word dumm (which itself derives from Old High German tumb).