Definition of dumb waiter in English:

dumb waiter


  • 1A small lift for carrying things, especially food and crockery, between the floors of a building.

    • ‘It also has an interesting feature in that several small doors lead off from it, either housing water closets or a dumb waiter, which reached down to the beer and wine supplies in the cellar.’
    • ‘Predictably, the dumb waiter refused to budge.’
    • ‘A dumb waiter connected the first-floor kitchen with the second-floor dining room.’
    • ‘The room also includes an original dumb waiter, which has been converted into a built-in drinks cabinet with integrated storage presses.’
    • ‘Dishes came down the dumb waiter as I went up and I had to yell for Mary to get them.’
    • ‘A lift might be out of the question, but we might install a dumb waiter.’
    • ‘Eventually we were released, crawling ingloriously to freedom through a dumb waiter.’
    • ‘They had a noisy dumb waiter (surely a contradiction in terms) and broken panelling on the walls.’
    • ‘As they laze about the room, the two men engage in high-brow, seemingly irrelevant arguments, while being frequently interrupted by a dumb waiter - that is, a small elevator in the wall.’
    • ‘When one of the narrators in a novel is the ghost of a girl who fell to her death in a dumb waiter, you know it's not going to be an ordinary read.’
    • ‘A Venetian invention, a casino was a kind of bijou summerhouse specifically designed for illicit sex: the food was delivered by dumb waiter so no shenanigans could be observed.’
    • ‘A dark wood bar takes pride of place along with antique cupboards concealing the dumb waiter that leads from the downstairs kitchen.’
    • ‘While she was there a dumb waiter rattled up almost silently on its well-oiled pulley.’
    • ‘There must be many silly ways to pass on but plunging to your death after climbing into a faulty dumb waiter for a paltry #5 bet surely takes the biscuit.’
    • ‘So it was 8:40 exactly when the second radio went off and he climbed out of bed, dressed, ate the sandwich that had been sent up by dumb waiter, and went downstairs.’
    elevator, hoist
    View synonyms
  • 2British A movable table, typically with revolving shelves, used in a dining room.

    • ‘In that country, too, there was a vogue for incorporating coasters in dumb waiters.’
    • ‘Of course, the beauty of having a well-stocked pub only a dumb waiter away is that, while trying to assimilate the extensive wine list, you can swig beer.’
    • ‘The first thing he saw was a huge dumb waiter that served as a clothes stand.’
    • ‘But officers on their return found mouse droppings near bins, on the floor, behind a freezer and under a steel table near the dumb waiter.’
    • ‘The combination of Tudor and Thai works well - I particularly like the antique dumb waiter which faithfully delivers dish upon dish of steaming hot food.’


dumb waiter