General English

  • adjective not exciting or interesting
  • adjective grey and cloudy
  • adjective not bright


  • adjective not exciting, not full of life


  • adjective referring to pain which is not strong but which is continuously present
  • verb to make a sensation or awareness of a sensation less sharp


  • used to describe a wine that is drinkable but uninteresting

Origin & History of “dull”

Dull originally meant ‘slow-witted’. It was borrowed from middle Low German dul, a descendant of the prehistoric Germanic adjective *dulaz, which also produced German toll and Old English dol ‘stupid’ (the Old English adjective does not seem to have survived beyond the 10th century). The modern meaning ‘boring’ developed in the 15th century. The now little-used dullard (15th c.) is a derivative (reflecting the adjective’s original sense), as also is probably dolt (16th c.).