Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR DUMBNESS

The dumbness that had fallen from his daughter seemed to have dropped upon him.

Molly says, at length awakening to the fact of her lover's dumbness.

At Oxford Circus they got out, and left me pondering on deafness and dumbness.

For the sake of his hoard he had taken on himself the dumbness and deafness of a fish.

In her constant living with animals she had caught their dumbness and their calm.

He opened his mouth to answer, indeed, but a dumbness sealed his lips.

"Something'll come of the dumbness," he prophesied to himself.

But her faculty for dumbness was stronger than his, and—he had to speak first.

This question, focusing his doubts, broke down the Squire's dumbness.

Perhaps she herself had been sufficient reason for his dumbness.

WORD ORIGIN

Old English dumb "silent, unable to speak," from PIE *dheubh- "confusion, stupefaction, dizziness," from root *dheu- (1) "dust, mist, vapor, smoke," and related notions of "defective perception or wits."

The Old English, Old Saxon (dumb), Gothic (dumbs), and Old Norse (dumbr) forms of the word meant only "mute, speechless;" in Old High German (thumb) it meant both this and "stupid," and in Modern German this latter became the only sense. Meaning "foolish, ignorant" was occasionally in Middle English, but modern use (1823) comes from influence of German dumm. Related: dumber; dumbest.

Applied to silent contrivances, hence dumbwaiter. As a verb, in late Old English, "to become mute;" c.1600, "to make mute." To dumb (something) down is from 1933.

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR DUMBNESS

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.