Word of the Day: dull

 
 
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Word of the Day
 
March 9, 2016
 
dull (adjective, verb)
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A dull day at the office
 
When we're talking about knives and blades, dull means 'not sharp,' and it also refers to someone or something that is boring and not exciting or to something that lacks brightness. Figuratively, it is used pejoratively to talk about someone who is stupid or slow-minded; this sense is more common in the UK than in the US. As a verb, it means 'to make something dull,' in the sense of less bright or sharp or less acute or intense, and it can be literal or figurative.

 

Example sentences

 

"Could you sharpen this knife please? The blade is dull."
Jane really enjoyed the movie, but Amit thought it was dull.
The lamp was very weak, and it filled the room with a dull light.
Harry was rather a dull man and had trouble understanding his supervisor's directions.
Time had dulled the painting's colors.
The aspirin dulled the pain of Phoebe's headache.

 

Multi-word forms
 
dull-witted: stupid or slow; this is more common in the UK, and in the US we often say dim-witted instead; neither is a very nice thing to say about someone. Example: "Sarah found it hard to hold a conversation with Joe, because he was so dull-witted."
 
Additional information
 
Dull is also used to describe the weather and means 'gloomy and dark.' Example: "It was a dull day with a lot of clouds and rain." It can also describe a type of pain that is more like an ache, rather than being sharp or acute. Example: "Bill went to see the doctor about the dull pain in his back that had been bothering him all week."
 
Did you know?
 
People are often scared to use sharp knives, but actually many experts say that a sharp knife is safer than a dull one, as there is a greater risk of a dull blade slipping and that's how people cut themselves!
 
Other forms
 
dullness (noun), dully (adverb)
 
Origin
 
Dull dates back to the first half of the 13th century; it is akin to the Old English word dol, meaning 'foolish or stupid,' and it is a cognate with the German word toll.
 
 
 
 
 
Dull in other languages
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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