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’
    • ‘The lighting that is currently in place is extremely poor, with only six lights providing dim illumination inside the subway.’
    • ‘Whispering my name, he pulled back again, face just inches from my own, eyes shining black in the dim light.’
    • ‘Imaginative stage lighting provided dim illumination and served to showcase dancers in center stage.’
    • ‘In the dim halo of yellow light, she could see the dull haze of alcohol in his eyes.’
    • ‘The dim gas lights glowed brightly in the corner of the large square.’
    • ‘Only the ceiling lantern was lit, giving but dim illumination to the cabin.’
    • ‘The blade was sharp and around three inches in length, she could tell, as it shone in the dim moonlight.’
    • ‘Debbie glanced out the window and saw dim sunshine shining through a window and a light drizzle outside.’
    • ‘Soon the boy pulled her through a room that was lit with dim candlelight.’
    • ‘Their places were set high above a circular platform which was only illuminated by the dim light from above.’
    • ‘The lamplight was dim, and it shone rather unsteadily, casting only a weak glow over the ground, but it would have to do.’
    • ‘I turned and faced the army, my sword shining red in the dim light.’
    • ‘There were dim lights illuminating the hall and it wasn't quite as dusty.’
    • ‘The dim rays of light were shining through, just like before.’
    • ‘A few dim blue lights partially illuminated my instrument panel.’
    • ‘Somehow, the darkness revealed something, with only several dim lights shining in the night.’
    • ‘The sun emitted dim rays of light and its reflection on the sea was moving constantly.’
    • ‘Her big dark emerald green eyes shone brightly in the dim light.’
    • ‘Only this time, a set of very dim auxiliary lights illuminate, but many of them continue to flicker on and off.’
    • ‘Her hair was shoulder length, but it curled around her head and face, shining under the dim light of the entry hall.’
    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’
      • ‘Then, finally, off to the right about thirty to forty yards away, the dim silhouette of a group of divers began to pass.’
      • ‘The dim contour betrayed a scythe hanging on two pegs near the ceiling, its handle parallel to the ground.’
      • ‘She opened her eyes to look around the room she was in, but could only see dim shapes in the ghostly moonlight.’
      • ‘As usual, no lights were on, and all she could see were the dim silhouettes of his furniture.’
      • ‘Then, turning back towards the dim shapes across the stream, ‘It's like that joke about looking into a nudist camp,’ he said.’
      • ‘He squinted and brought his face forward, straining his neck, trying to make out the dim form that was only a foot from him.’
      • ‘Eventually the ship's throbbing cut out, and they could see the dim shapes of launches being lowered over the sides.’
      • ‘The dim figures faded into nothingness in the fog around them.’
      • ‘Choked with spray, she saw rocks looming, dim shapes above the waste of hurtling water.’
      • ‘Dale peered through the peek-hole in the front door, saw nothing but a dim shape, and flicked on the porch light.’
      • ‘There were two dim circles attached to one another by a line - a curved line.’
      • ‘There were two dim figures at his doorway, one short and one tall.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He stared at the dim shapes of the knick-knacks on top of his dresser, the glowing red face of his alarm clock.’
      • ‘Eventually I could make out a dim figure ahead of me.’
      • ‘The dim figure of a young lady carrying large clothes boxes was making her way up the aisle and out.’
      • ‘A dim figure crossed to the window and opened the blinds, washing the room with light from the poled lamps in the parking lot.’
      • ‘And as she started to say something, I became suddenly aware that I could see a dim shape where she stood.’
      • ‘Then she began to make out dim shapes that in a few moments revealed themselves to be crates, tackle, ropes, barrels, and hooks.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘She sits in this cramped, dim space for eight hours a day sorting mail.’
      • ‘The room was dim, with just a hint of fog to add to the allure.’
      • ‘Instead, a strange blonde man slinked out of the shadows of the dim room.’
      • ‘The room was too dim to read anything written on the slab.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was pleasantly surprised to discover a clamorous, dim room filled with networked computers available dirt-cheap.’
      • ‘There, in front of her, was a dim corner that she had not seen when she had first arrived.’
      • ‘Frescoes of demons and spirits writhe across the walls of its prayer halls, and the drone of absorbed monks fills dim rooms and corridors.’
      • ‘I soon found that I was tied into a sitting position in a dim room.’
      • ‘With the orb inside, the room is relatively dim.’
      • ‘The sun wasn't shining directly in through the windows, so it took her eyes a second to adjust to the dim room.’
      • ‘So she remained, lying under the heavy weight of her own mind, in the dim corner by the forgotten door.’
      • ‘Slowly he opened his eyes to a dim room, his bedroom, in a quiet house.’
      • ‘I pushed the drapes aside as I stepped back into the dim room and stood for a second, blinking.’
      • ‘A man hovers in a dim corner of the room, soundless, watchful.’
      • ‘As they assist weavers, children sit at cramped looms in damp, dim rooms.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘The room was dim and warmed by a crackling fire in the stone fireplace.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Confronted with death, the eye blinks, opens wide, or grows dim.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘There's a muffled noise, a dim rustling from inside the bin.’
      • ‘The buzz of banter was a dim noise at the back of her mind.’
      • ‘My thinking was interrupted by dim sounds off in the distance.’
      • ‘As I turned up the tap even higher, I could still make out Clark trying to say something to me over the dim roar.’
      • ‘And, almost like a miracle, the dim laughter subsided to the cool trickling of a nearby stream.’
      • ‘There's a distant, dim echo of his voice coming off the mountain, followed by silence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was silent and dark except for the dim roar coming from the tv that stood in front of the couch.’
      • ‘It was a dim sound, and was clearly growing steadier by the second.’
      • ‘He pushed his focus toward the dim echoes of the water.’
      • ‘He emerges to the dim noise of pipes.’
      • ‘They sounded dim, faint, as they echoed within her ears and beat against her skull.’
  • 2Not clearly recalled or formulated in the mind.

    ‘dim memories’
    ‘the matter was in the dim and distant past’
    • ‘The day when you could open your windows for fresh air is just a dim memory.’
    • ‘I have in mind a dim memory of the Commissioner trying to grapple with this kind or problem.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The baying hounds triggered a dim ancestral memory of rapacious wolf packs that was hard-wired somewhere deep inside his brain.’
    • ‘Slowly Tim's restaurant plan became a dim and distant memory.’
    • ‘The idea of national state-funded infrastructure provision is becoming a dim and distant memory.’
    • ‘But it is a piece of the country's history, a small symbol of struggles which now remain just dim memories for some.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All that weighed upon his mind suddenly grew dim and trivial.’
    • ‘All this makes him try to remember his childhood, but the memories are dim.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Those days, however, must seem a dim and distant memory.’
    • ‘Why would I bother trying to revive such a dim memory?’
    vague, unclear, indistinct, imprecise, imperfect, confused, sketchy, hazy, blurred, shadowy, foggy, obscure, remote
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    1. 2.1 (of a situation) not giving cause for hope or optimism.
      ‘their prospects for the future looked fairly dim’
      • ‘By the end of the nineteenth century, North America's indigenous wild turkey had dim prospects of survival.’
      • ‘It would have empowered me to be clueless too, instead of my holding on to the dim hope that things might work out.’
      • ‘Once they leave, future prospects are extremely dim.’
      • ‘The bad news is that the prospects are dim for achieving this end without the resort to force over the coming years.’
      • ‘But hopes for a quick resolution are dim because of the absence of top leaders, one delegate said.’
      • ‘So they watch their losses multiply in the dim hope of recapturing their losses.’
      • ‘Maybe it's the dim hope that I'll meet someone new and interesting.’
      • ‘You just have to fight with everything you have, with no illusions about your dim hopes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He won't argue if you tell him the company's prospects are dim either.’
      • ‘Derrick wanted to say something, anything to make the situation look a little less dim, but he couldn't find the words.’
      • ‘But the new millennium has greeted the people with dim prospects of deteriorating health.’
      • ‘Local homeowners are resisting the attempts by the city to condemn their land, but their prospects are dim.’
      • ‘But our chronically weak dollar is a clear sign that the global investment community thinks our economic prospects are dim.’
      • ‘Often a project takes on a life of its own and lumbers on, even though there are dim prospects for the resultant product.’
      • ‘I am not involved with anyone special right now and the prospects are rather dim for a Valentine's Day date.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I cherish the dim hope that they will grow the necessary spine between now and Thursday.’
      • ‘He wasn't going to undersell himself again to a team with such dim prospects.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘James is the somewhat dim young banker venerated by two Buddhist monks as a spiritual master.’
    • ‘So I'm not assuming that I understand the culture because that would be pretty dim.’
    • ‘Sure, she was a bit dim at times, but that was just ridiculous.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was generally accepted that he either wanted a nuclear war or was too dim to understand the consequences.’
    • ‘Most of your run of the mill idiocy falls into a middle category somewhere between frightfully dim to downright dense.’
    • ‘Is he so dim-witted that he can't see the possibilities?’
    • ‘No less worrisome, therefore, is the fact that the networks that own so many of these stations are too dim to understand this fact.’
    • ‘His dedicated, but sometimes dim, disciples never seemed to completely understand him or his mission.’
    • ‘I try convincing a couple of girls driving in to back out and go back in again, but they are too dim to understand.’
    • ‘She thought if she asked, she would sound somewhat dim.’
    • ‘They were probably so dim-witted that they didn't understand what he had plastered to himself.’
    stupid, unintelligent, ignorant, dense, brainless, mindless, foolish, dull-witted, dull, slow-witted, witless, slow, dunce-like, simple-minded, empty-headed, vacuous, vapid, half-witted, idiotic, moronic, imbecilic, imbecile, obtuse, doltish
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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’
    • ‘When you come through the front door the lights have dimmed, the curtains closed and music is playing to welcome you home.’
    • ‘The room was shadowed, the light dimmed by the thick curtains shrouding the window.’
    • ‘The light was really dimming now, and a bit of a breeze was blowing.’
    • ‘She suddenly heard the audience clap, meaning the lights had dimmed and the curtains were about to open any minute.’
    • ‘The roar began to ebb and the lights dimmed like dying suns, until everything was bathed in deep red shadows.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A few minutes later the lights dimmed and the curtain began to rise.’
    • ‘A few minutes later the lights began to dim and the curtain rose.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The lights were not bright and were dimmed so as not to draw attention.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The bright lights dimmed, the piano's final note died down, and it was over.’
    • ‘Without warning, the lights suddenly dimmed and began to go out.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The light dims, though apparently through malfunctioning rather than any intended effect.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I had no idea where the sun was, and the light was dimming as we walked.’
    • ‘As the star got larger and larger and almost unbearably bright, the light started to dim, fading away behind them.’
    • ‘We barely sat down before the lights dimmed and the curtains drew back.’
    grow faint, grow feeble, grow dim, fade, dull
    grow dark, darken, blacken, cloud over, become overcast, grow leaden, lour, become gloomy
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    1. 1.1with object Lower the beam of (a vehicle's headlights) to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers.
      ‘the car moved slowly, its headlights dimmed’
      • ‘This year, it plans to introduce automatic dimming headlights.’
      • ‘They didn't dim their lights; hardly any driver that passed by dimmed his lights.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Attorneys at all levels were quitting and the prospects of recruiting the best new lawyers were dimming.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the urban poor still went hungry, school rolls continued to fall, health facilities closed down, and the prospects for socialism in Mozambique dimmed.’
      • ‘Failure at this period sharply limits a seedling's early growth and may dim the prospects of those involved.’
      • ‘Despite a few minor victories, however, prospects for large increases are dimming.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A failing body did not dim his confidence in the promises of God.’
      • ‘The growth prospects for the domestic economy have dimmed.’
      • ‘Consumer spending is key to domestic growth, but prospects are dimming.’
      • ‘I can feel it already, the intensity dimming, control becoming easier as the box starts to close.’
      • ‘The shift, along with the higher costs of funds, is dimming industry prospects.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Conversely, after the Chinese intervention, support declined, based on dimming prospects for gains beyond the status quo.’
      • ‘But if the team is left out of next year's European championship prospects will be significantly dimmed.’
      • ‘Has the recovery hit a wall, dimming prospects for sales, output, and jobs in the second half?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The costly maintenance of the Blue Highway also dims the its future prospects.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The consensus in Democratic circles is that the retired Army general dimmed his prospects through an uneven performance on the campaign trail.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Everything was dark and his sight was dimmed by heavy fog.’
      • ‘Age had dimmed their sight and bent their frames.’
      • ‘Jonathon's sight was dimming; it was swimming in blood and useless tears.’
      • ‘As her eyesight began to dim and her mind became fuzzy, she thought, it's going to be all right now.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She felt a burning sensation in her temple, then waves of darkness dimmed her sight.’
      • ‘His sight was dimming and his hearing had nearly disappeared.’
      • ‘A too habitual and free internal use of the herb dims the sight for some hours.’
      • ‘As his vision dimmed, he briefly wondered what his life was about.’
      • ‘His vision is dimming with shock, but his mind struggles for awareness.’
      • ‘A sharp pain wiped away the fog that dimmed his sight, and he swung a vicious blow at a brown, handsome face.’

Phrases

  • take a dim view of

    • Regard with disapproval.

      • ‘Both pupils and parents should realise that this authority is determined to stamp out truancy and unnecessary absence and that it takes a dim view of parents who condone truancy - even at Christmas.’
      • ‘As time went by, as the name Guernica became associated with a picture rather than a place, many Basques took a dim view of a painting made far away by someone who had no special affinity with Basque culture.’
      • ‘As a former chairman I would take a dim view of not being allowed into a dressing room.’
      • ‘The match officials took a dim view of his persistent remonstrations and he was ordered to sit in the stand for the second half.’
      • ‘Planners took a dim view of the situation and refused retrospective planning permission for the display.’
      • ‘The council takes a dim view of this type of mindless destruction and will pursue aggressively all vandals.’
      • ‘He added that the council took a dim view of people using disabled parking spaces, which is why the fine was so high.’
      • ‘Since the pampered little wretches have an acre of grass apiece and a daily bucket of sheep muesli, we took a dim view of their varying their diet with bark.’
      • ‘Residents view street cleaning as a fundamental job of their council, and will take a dim view of any further deterioration of the service.’
      • ‘If information is received and no action is taken the force would take a dim view of that.’
      disapprove of, deplore, abhor, find unacceptable, be against, frown on, take a dim view of, look askance at, take exception to, detest, despise, execrate
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Origin

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

Pronunciation

dim

/dɪm/