This term was used long ago to describe a person who could not hear or speak. Using such a phrase today is considered quite rude, as being deaf
obviously has no relationship to a person's intelligence
. If a deaf child is deprived of language
, they may never do very well as a member of society, but intelligence has nothing to do with the results of an audiogram
. Although dumb
used to mean "mute," it is also inaccurate when applied to deaf people in general as many are in fact able to speak.
See also deaf-mute.