Definition of dim in English:

dim

adjective

  • 1(of a light, colour, or illuminated object) not shining brightly or clearly:

    ‘the dim glow of the fire’
    • ‘Soon the boy pulled her through a room that was lit with dim candlelight.’
    • ‘There were dim lights illuminating the hall and it wasn't quite as dusty.’
    • ‘Imaginative stage lighting provided dim illumination and served to showcase dancers in center stage.’
    • ‘The sun emitted dim rays of light and its reflection on the sea was moving constantly.’
    • ‘A few dim blue lights partially illuminated my instrument panel.’
    • ‘Debbie glanced out the window and saw dim sunshine shining through a window and a light drizzle outside.’
    • ‘Somehow, the darkness revealed something, with only several dim lights shining in the night.’
    • ‘Their places were set high above a circular platform which was only illuminated by the dim light from above.’
    • ‘Whispering my name, he pulled back again, face just inches from my own, eyes shining black in the dim light.’
    • ‘Her hair was shoulder length, but it curled around her head and face, shining under the dim light of the entry hall.’
    • ‘The lamplight was dim, and it shone rather unsteadily, casting only a weak glow over the ground, but it would have to do.’
    • ‘Only the ceiling lantern was lit, giving but dim illumination to the cabin.’
    • ‘The dim rays of light were shining through, just like before.’
    • ‘Only this time, a set of very dim auxiliary lights illuminate, but many of them continue to flicker on and off.’
    • ‘In the dim halo of yellow light, she could see the dull haze of alcohol in his eyes.’
    • ‘Her big dark emerald green eyes shone brightly in the dim light.’
    • ‘The lighting that is currently in place is extremely poor, with only six lights providing dim illumination inside the subway.’
    • ‘The dim gas lights glowed brightly in the corner of the large square.’
    • ‘I turned and faced the army, my sword shining red in the dim light.’
    • ‘The blade was sharp and around three inches in length, she could tell, as it shone in the dim moonlight.’
    faint, weak, feeble, soft, pale, dull, dingy, subdued, muted, flat, lustreless
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    1. 1.1 (of an object or shape) made difficult to see by darkness, shade, or distance:
      ‘a dim figure in the dark kitchen’
      • ‘Choked with spray, she saw rocks looming, dim shapes above the waste of hurtling water.’
      • ‘There were two dim figures at his doorway, one short and one tall.’
      • ‘Eventually the ship's throbbing cut out, and they could see the dim shapes of launches being lowered over the sides.’
      • ‘She gazed down and suddenly one of the dim shapes moved, darting into a pool of light from the half moon to take the form of a man.’
      • ‘Then, finally, off to the right about thirty to forty yards away, the dim silhouette of a group of divers began to pass.’
      • ‘A dim figure crossed to the window and opened the blinds, washing the room with light from the poled lamps in the parking lot.’
      • ‘Then, turning back towards the dim shapes across the stream, ‘It's like that joke about looking into a nudist camp,’ he said.’
      • ‘As usual, no lights were on, and all she could see were the dim silhouettes of his furniture.’
      • ‘Dale peered through the peek-hole in the front door, saw nothing but a dim shape, and flicked on the porch light.’
      • ‘He squinted and brought his face forward, straining his neck, trying to make out the dim form that was only a foot from him.’
      • ‘Then she began to make out dim shapes that in a few moments revealed themselves to be crates, tackle, ropes, barrels, and hooks.’
      • ‘The dim figures faded into nothingness in the fog around them.’
      • ‘He stared at the dim shapes of the knick-knacks on top of his dresser, the glowing red face of his alarm clock.’
      • ‘On one occasion, a man peering into one of the dirty windows claimed to see the dim figure of a woman, suspended by her wrists from the ceiling.’
      • ‘The dim figure of a young lady carrying large clothes boxes was making her way up the aisle and out.’
      • ‘And as she started to say something, I became suddenly aware that I could see a dim shape where she stood.’
      • ‘Eventually I could make out a dim figure ahead of me.’
      • ‘The dim contour betrayed a scythe hanging on two pegs near the ceiling, its handle parallel to the ground.’
      • ‘There were two dim circles attached to one another by a line - a curved line.’
      • ‘She opened her eyes to look around the room she was in, but could only see dim shapes in the ghostly moonlight.’
      indistinct, ill-defined, unclear, vague, shadowy, imperceptible, nebulous, obscured, blurred, blurry, fuzzy, bleary
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    2. 1.2 (of a room or other space) made difficult to see in by darkness:
      ‘long dim corridors’
      • ‘Instead, a strange blonde man slinked out of the shadows of the dim room.’
      • ‘I soon found that I was tied into a sitting position in a dim room.’
      • ‘Besides, why sit alone in a dim room in front of a computer when you can sit alone in a dim room with a good comic?’
      • ‘With the orb inside, the room is relatively dim.’
      • ‘So she remained, lying under the heavy weight of her own mind, in the dim corner by the forgotten door.’
      • ‘The room was dim and warmed by a crackling fire in the stone fireplace.’
      • ‘I pushed the drapes aside as I stepped back into the dim room and stood for a second, blinking.’
      • ‘I was pleasantly surprised to discover a clamorous, dim room filled with networked computers available dirt-cheap.’
      • ‘A man hovers in a dim corner of the room, soundless, watchful.’
      • ‘The room was too dim to read anything written on the slab.’
      • ‘Slowly he opened his eyes to a dim room, his bedroom, in a quiet house.’
      • ‘She sits in this cramped, dim space for eight hours a day sorting mail.’
      • ‘The sun wasn't shining directly in through the windows, so it took her eyes a second to adjust to the dim room.’
      • ‘There, in front of her, was a dim corner that she had not seen when she had first arrived.’
      • ‘About half of the 20 young women are otherwise engaged in the Champagne Room, a dim, closet-size space that holds half a dozen couples.’
      • ‘She took her arm away from her waist to push aside the drapes and open the door, stumbling into the dim room, lit only by a little oil lamp.’
      • ‘I scanned the room and found him speaking with a young woman in a dim corner of the ballroom.’
      • ‘As they assist weavers, children sit at cramped looms in damp, dim rooms.’
      • ‘Frescoes of demons and spirits writhe across the walls of its prayer halls, and the drone of absorbed monks fills dim rooms and corridors.’
      • ‘The room was dim, with just a hint of fog to add to the allure.’
      dark, darkish, sombre, dingy, dismal, gloomy, dusky, murky
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    3. 1.3 (of the eyes) unable to see clearly:
      ‘his eyes became dim’
      • ‘He thought of her, and the idea that anything could come between them made his eyes dim with tears.’
      • ‘Confronted with death, the eye blinks, opens wide, or grows dim.’
      • ‘‘My eyes are dim, I cannot see, I have not brought my specs with me, I have not brought my specs with me’.’
      • ‘When she stood back up, the blood rushed around her brain and made her eyes go dim for a moment.’
      • ‘Her chestnut eyes were dim with sleepiness as they came in contact with his live blue ones.’
    4. 1.4 (of a sound) indistinct or muffled:
      ‘the dim drone of their voices’
      • ‘Wilde did not have such specific prescience, but I wonder if he didn't overhear the dim roar of airborne death somewhere over the horizon.’
      • ‘And, almost like a miracle, the dim laughter subsided to the cool trickling of a nearby stream.’
      • ‘He pushed his focus toward the dim echoes of the water.’
      • ‘As I turned up the tap even higher, I could still make out Clark trying to say something to me over the dim roar.’
      • ‘They sounded dim, faint, as they echoed within her ears and beat against her skull.’
      • ‘There's a muffled noise, a dim rustling from inside the bin.’
      • ‘He emerges to the dim noise of pipes.’
      • ‘It was a dim sound, and was clearly growing steadier by the second.’
      • ‘There's a distant, dim echo of his voice coming off the mountain, followed by silence.’
      • ‘The buzz of banter was a dim noise at the back of her mind.’
      • ‘It was silent and dark except for the dim roar coming from the tv that stood in front of the couch.’
      • ‘My thinking was interrupted by dim sounds off in the distance.’
    5. 1.5 Not clearly recalled or formulated in the mind:
      ‘dim memories’
      ‘the matter was in the dim and distant past’
      • ‘The baying hounds triggered a dim ancestral memory of rapacious wolf packs that was hard-wired somewhere deep inside his brain.’
      • ‘The idea of national state-funded infrastructure provision is becoming a dim and distant memory.’
      • ‘Although it does seem like a dim and distant memory now, I still remember people being hanged in Britain during my lifetime.’
      • ‘My dim memories of biology seem to recall an animal classification system, whereby the entire natural world could be subdivided into various Phyla.’
      • ‘I hadn't been there in years, but I had dim memories of the place.’
      • ‘He had a dim memory of wandering through a labyrinth of sordid houses, of being lost in a giant web of sombre streets, and it was bright dawn when he found himself at last in Piccadilly Circus.’
      • ‘All that weighed upon his mind suddenly grew dim and trivial.’
      • ‘The day when you could open your windows for fresh air is just a dim memory.’
      • ‘A new generation had come up with only dim childhood memories of the war, while an older one was in no mood to repeat the experience.’
      • ‘And frankly the teacher/student aspect of it is basically a dim memory.’
      • ‘While she always liked pop music, her closest connection to radio was a dim memory of her brother heading off to work as a pirate DJ when she was about five years old.’
      • ‘But it is a piece of the country's history, a small symbol of struggles which now remain just dim memories for some.’
      • ‘I have in mind a dim memory of the Commissioner trying to grapple with this kind or problem.’
      • ‘Slowly Tim's restaurant plan became a dim and distant memory.’
      • ‘I can also vaguely recall occasionally going to a club called Catacombs, but since I was off my face on snakebite and black, my memories are dim and distant.’
      • ‘The place was only half full and it was still dark outside but it was way past bedtime on a Saturday night and midterms were just a dim, horrific memory.’
      • ‘All this makes him try to remember his childhood, but the memories are dim.’
      • ‘There will be times when things are going so well that sadness seems like a dim memory, and then there will be those times when we long for God to intervene.’
      • ‘Why would I bother trying to revive such a dim memory?’
      • ‘Those days, however, must seem a dim and distant memory.’
      vague, unclear, indistinct, imprecise, imperfect, confused, sketchy, hazy, blurred, shadowy, foggy, obscure, remote
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  • 2(of a situation) not giving cause for hope or optimism:

    ‘their prospects for the future looked fairly dim’
    • ‘But hopes for a quick resolution are dim because of the absence of top leaders, one delegate said.’
    • ‘But our chronically weak dollar is a clear sign that the global investment community thinks our economic prospects are dim.’
    • ‘I am not involved with anyone special right now and the prospects are rather dim for a Valentine's Day date.’
    • ‘He wasn't going to undersell himself again to a team with such dim prospects.’
    • ‘This in turn will add to the already large numbers of unemployed and under-skilled youth on the streets of this country with dim prospects of jobs in the future.’
    • ‘Local homeowners are resisting the attempts by the city to condemn their land, but their prospects are dim.’
    • ‘The Minister painted a human figure in black surrounded by red with a dash of yellow on the top giving it a cheerful outlook in otherwise dim circumstances.’
    • ‘So they watch their losses multiply in the dim hope of recapturing their losses.’
    • ‘By the end of the nineteenth century, North America's indigenous wild turkey had dim prospects of survival.’
    • ‘Derrick wanted to say something, anything to make the situation look a little less dim, but he couldn't find the words.’
    • ‘Maybe it's the dim hope that I'll meet someone new and interesting.’
    • ‘Often a project takes on a life of its own and lumbers on, even though there are dim prospects for the resultant product.’
    • ‘The bad news is that the prospects are dim for achieving this end without the resort to force over the coming years.’
    • ‘Once they leave, future prospects are extremely dim.’
    • ‘It would have empowered me to be clueless too, instead of my holding on to the dim hope that things might work out.’
    • ‘But the new millennium has greeted the people with dim prospects of deteriorating health.’
    • ‘He won't argue if you tell him the company's prospects are dim either.’
    • ‘You just have to fight with everything you have, with no illusions about your dim hopes.’
    • ‘I cherish the dim hope that they will grow the necessary spine between now and Thursday.’
    • ‘Shifting away from the dim hopes of my rescue, I conjure up a series of bright memories that bring me a tidal change of emotion.’
    gloomy, sombre, unpromising, unfavourable, discouraging, disheartening, depressing, dispiriting
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  • 3informal Stupid or slow to understand:

    ‘you're just incredibly dim’
    • ‘I try convincing a couple of girls driving in to back out and go back in again, but they are too dim to understand.’
    • ‘James is the somewhat dim young banker venerated by two Buddhist monks as a spiritual master.’
    • ‘She thought if she asked, she would sound somewhat dim.’
    • ‘His dedicated, but sometimes dim, disciples never seemed to completely understand him or his mission.’
    • ‘Sure, she was a bit dim at times, but that was just ridiculous.’
    • ‘They were probably so dim-witted that they didn't understand what he had plastered to himself.’
    • ‘Most of your run of the mill idiocy falls into a middle category somewhere between frightfully dim to downright dense.’
    • ‘No less worrisome, therefore, is the fact that the networks that own so many of these stations are too dim to understand this fact.’
    • ‘I wasn't so naive or dim to not notice the wanting looks some of the class gave me, I guess I used that to my advantage.’
    • ‘So I'm not assuming that I understand the culture because that would be pretty dim.’
    • ‘Is he so dim-witted that he can't see the possibilities?’
    • ‘It was generally accepted that he either wanted a nuclear war or was too dim to understand the consequences.’

verb

  • 1Make or become less bright or distinct:

    [with object] ‘a smoky inferno that dimmed the sun’
    [no object] ‘the lights dimmed and the curtains parted’
    • ‘The situation is rather like a stage on which a quiet domestic drama has been played, the players have made their exits and the lights are dimming before the curtain drops.’
    • ‘Without warning, the lights suddenly dimmed and began to go out.’
    • ‘She suddenly heard the audience clap, meaning the lights had dimmed and the curtains were about to open any minute.’
    • ‘When you come through the front door the lights have dimmed, the curtains closed and music is playing to welcome you home.’
    • ‘The light dims, though apparently through malfunctioning rather than any intended effect.’
    • ‘I had no idea where the sun was, and the light was dimming as we walked.’
    • ‘The roar began to ebb and the lights dimmed like dying suns, until everything was bathed in deep red shadows.’
    • ‘The light was really dimming now, and a bit of a breeze was blowing.’
    • ‘We barely sat down before the lights dimmed and the curtains drew back.’
    • ‘The hall light dimmed, then abruptly got bright; I closed my eyes against the sharp pain that stabbed at my blurry eyes and shot through to my head.’
    • ‘But once the lights dimmed, it was an appreciative audience that clapped through the show including those who had been yawning because of the delay.’
    • ‘A few minutes later the lights began to dim and the curtain rose.’
    • ‘The lights were not bright and were dimmed so as not to draw attention.’
    • ‘The bright lights dimmed, the piano's final note died down, and it was over.’
    • ‘In the morning I sit at the computer, which is tucked away in a room without windows, and when I make coffee it's sunny but the light dims and we have rain by noon.’
    • ‘As the star got larger and larger and almost unbearably bright, the light started to dim, fading away behind them.’
    • ‘The room was shadowed, the light dimmed by the thick curtains shrouding the window.’
    • ‘A few minutes later the lights dimmed and the curtain began to rise.’
    • ‘Great clouds of smoke and black fog constantly cover the sun, dimming its light.’
    • ‘Within a few minutes the lights dimmed and the movie began.’
    grow faint, grow feeble, grow dim, fade, dull
    grow dark, darken, blacken, cloud over, become overcast, grow leaden, lour, become gloomy
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object] Lower the beam of (a vehicle's headlights) to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers:
      ‘the car moved slowly, its headlights dimmed’
      • ‘They didn't dim their lights; hardly any driver that passed by dimmed his lights.’
      • ‘This year, it plans to introduce automatic dimming headlights.’
      • ‘She quickly dimmed the lights, both outside and inside the vehicle.’
      • ‘Our headlights were dimming by themselves, and the car felt like it was held to the ground by a magnet and didn't want to move.’
      • ‘Its headlights dimmed down, shutting off, and the driver guided the vehicle ahead.’
      turn down, lower, dip
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    2. 1.2 Make or become less intense:
      [with object] ‘the difficulty in sleeping couldn't dim her happiness’
      • ‘As this prospect has dimmed, however, fears have grown that as trade rivalries step up the transnationals will see their British operations as prime areas for cutbacks.’
      • ‘The costly maintenance of the Blue Highway also dims the its future prospects.’
      • ‘A failing body did not dim his confidence in the promises of God.’
      • ‘Despite a few minor victories, however, prospects for large increases are dimming.’
      • ‘The consensus in Democratic circles is that the retired Army general dimmed his prospects through an uneven performance on the campaign trail.’
      • ‘The shift, along with the higher costs of funds, is dimming industry prospects.’
      • ‘Consumer spending is key to domestic growth, but prospects are dimming.’
      • ‘But if the team is left out of next year's European championship prospects will be significantly dimmed.’
      • ‘You've allowed the passage of time to dim the intensity of the moment and your rational faculty to devalue what is no longer integral to your life.’
      • ‘Has the recovery hit a wall, dimming prospects for sales, output, and jobs in the second half?’
      • ‘But the urban poor still went hungry, school rolls continued to fall, health facilities closed down, and the prospects for socialism in Mozambique dimmed.’
      • ‘Conversely, after the Chinese intervention, support declined, based on dimming prospects for gains beyond the status quo.’
      • ‘Attorneys at all levels were quitting and the prospects of recruiting the best new lawyers were dimming.’
      • ‘The growth prospects for the domestic economy have dimmed.’
      • ‘And believe it, there are millions out there who know the story: gradually your motivation dims, your sleep becomes disturbed and you lose clarity of mind.’
      • ‘I can feel it already, the intensity dimming, control becoming easier as the box starts to close.’
      • ‘The impact of a year of low-intensity warfare on public opinion on both sides of the divide has further dimmed the prospects for peace.’
      • ‘Failure at this period sharply limits a seedling's early growth and may dim the prospects of those involved.’
      • ‘The massive surge of loyalism that had helped to carry the country into war lost momentum as the prospects of a swift victory dimmed.’
      • ‘This, together with expectations that the Irish housing market will peak this year, dims the prospects for earnings growth.’
      fade, become vague, become indistinct, grow dim, blur, become blurred, become shadowy, become confused
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    3. 1.3 Make or become less able to see clearly:
      [no object] ‘his eyes dimmed’
      • ‘Everything was dark and his sight was dimmed by heavy fog.’
      • ‘Jonathon's sight was dimming; it was swimming in blood and useless tears.’
      • ‘She felt a burning sensation in her temple, then waves of darkness dimmed her sight.’
      • ‘As his vision dimmed, he briefly wondered what his life was about.’
      • ‘A sharp pain wiped away the fog that dimmed his sight, and he swung a vicious blow at a brown, handsome face.’
      • ‘Age had dimmed their sight and bent their frames.’
      • ‘As her eyesight began to dim and her mind became fuzzy, she thought, it's going to be all right now.’
      • ‘His vision is dimming with shock, but his mind struggles for awareness.’
      • ‘Such a fierce old man you still are, time does not dim your sight, but does your affection for him make you blind?’
      • ‘If one continues to look at it, one's sight becomes dazzled and dimmed, so it is preferable to look at its image in water and avoid a direct look at it, because the intensity of its rays is thereby reduced.’
      • ‘A too habitual and free internal use of the herb dims the sight for some hours.’
      • ‘His sight was dimming and his hearing had nearly disappeared.’
      • ‘His sight dimmed, and his hearing sharpened as his ears began to shift.’
      • ‘I sat staring at the now headless corpse until my vision finally dimmed and I collapsed.’
      • ‘His eyes dimmed and he fell forward, onto her.’

Origin

Old English dim, dimm, of Germanic origin; related to German dialect timmer.

Pronunciation:

dim

/dɪm/