Dumb (?), a. [AS. dumb; akin to D. dom stupid, dumb, Sw. dumb, Goth. dumbs; cf. Gr. blind. See Deaf, and cf. Dummy.]


Destitute of the power of speech; unable; to utter articulate sounds; as, the dumb brutes.

To unloose the very tongues even of dumb creatures. Hooker.


Not willing to speak; mute; silent; not speaking; not accompanied by words; as, dumb show.

This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him. Shak.

To pierce into the dumb past. J. C. Shairp.


Lacking brightness or clearness, as a color.


Her stern was painted of a dumb white or dun color. De Foe.

Deaf and dumb. See Deaf-mute. -- Dumb ague, ∨ Dumb chill, a form of intermittent fever which has no well-defined "chill." [U.S.] -- Dumb animal, any animal except man; -- usually restricted to a domestic quadruped; -- so called in contradistinction to man, who is a "speaking animal." -- Dumb cake, a cake made in silence by girls on St. Mark's eve, with certain mystic ceremonies, to discover their future husbands. Halliwell. -- Dumb cane Bot., a west Indian plant of the Arum family (Dieffenbachia seguina), which, when chewed, causes the tongue to swell, and destroys temporarily the power of speech. -- Dumb crambo. See under crambo. -- Dumb show. (a) Formerly, a part of a dramatic representation, shown in pantomime. "Inexplicable dumb shows and noise." Shak. (b) Signs and gestures without words; as, to tell a story in dumb show. -- To strike dumb, to confound; to astonish; to render silent by astonishment; or, it may be, to deprive of the power of speech.

Syn. -- Silent; speechless; noiseless. See Mute.


© Webster 1913.

Dumb, v. t.

To put to silence.




© Webster 1913.