Definition of deaf in US English:



  • 1Lacking the power of hearing or having impaired hearing.

    ‘deaf children’
    ‘I'm a bit deaf’
    • ‘In the meantime I continue to consider training as a teacher of the deaf, though without any actual action on my part.’
    • ‘I turned the volume down some so I wouldn't go completely deaf.’
    • ‘He discovered the blast had made him quite deaf, and it was many days before his hearing was restored.’
    • ‘Several other schools for the deaf from different districts supported the effort.’
    • ‘He is profoundly deaf and uses hearing aids until he can have a cochlea implant later this year.’
    • ‘The father of two has lived in the country for the past 29 years after moving there to set up a charity working with the deaf.’
    • ‘Forty-four of the children have hearing problems or are deaf, and the rest are orphans.’
    • ‘Amazingly, an appeal judge and the Supreme Court judge ruled that he was not deaf, but merely hard of hearing.’
    • ‘He was left deaf in his left ear with limited hearing in his right ear.’
    • ‘Severely deaf children cannot hear their own voices.’
    • ‘The first couple he tried were both profoundly deaf, and he didn't get much reaction beyond a bewildered smile.’
    • ‘Thorn Park School is a day special school for deaf and partially hearing children from two to sixteen years of age.’
    • ‘Matthew led a sponsored cycle ride to help to buy a hearing dog for a profoundly deaf teacher at the college.’
    • ‘Ashton became deaf at the age of just 18 months after suffering a bout of pneumonia.’
    • ‘If you're talking to a deaf person and a hearing person, don't just focus on the hearing person.’
    • ‘Budgie is a hearing dog for the deaf and was brought in for assembly by his owner Tracy Lewis, who lives in the town.’
    • ‘Education Bradford is proposing to teach more deaf children in the district's mainstream schools.’
    • ‘He has been in India ever since, setting up his own centre for the deaf at Nambikkai, on the country's southern tip.’
    • ‘The use of sign language by both the deaf and hearing communities is noteworthy as well.’
    • ‘He was not taught to sign at his school for the deaf and was instead taught to adapt to the hearing world by lip reading.’
    hard of hearing, hearing-impaired, with impaired hearing, unhearing, stone deaf, deafened, profoundly deaf
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    1. 1.1 Unwilling or unable to hear or pay attention to something.
      ‘she is deaf to all advice’
      • ‘It may be that I've been deaf to the roar of protest that has met this authoritarian and intrusive measure.’
      • ‘At this stage he's practically deaf to the cursing that fills the dressing room.’
      • ‘The ski industry is not deaf to criticism that it leaves a heavy footprint on the land.’
      • ‘Such was the constant buzzing around our ears that at first we were deaf to the sound of inbound propellers.’
      • ‘Or do you rationalize your way into making decisions and following paths that keep you deaf to your inner voice?’
      • ‘You appear to excel at giving orders but are deaf to the needs of your employees.’
      • ‘Will it also turn deaf to their pleas and allow the demolition of the secular order?’
      • ‘Downing Street seems determined to remain deaf to all these voices of reason.’
      • ‘He is not for turning; he is deaf to reason.’
      • ‘Why don't they take these blind, deaf and dumb politicians of their community to task?’
      • ‘The soldiers would mumble rude things at us under their breath, so we learned to be deaf to them, or pretend to be.’
      • ‘While those in positions to bring about change are deaf to their silent cries, WE can respond.’
      • ‘While the people have never been louder, the leaders have never been more deaf.’
      • ‘All these people are completely deaf to the pleas of business.’
      • ‘I winced in pain, so distracted by his intensity that I was deaf to the clunking of boots on the concrete floor.’
      • ‘As I said last weekend, it's easy to become deaf to the sirens in Hackney.’
      • ‘But the father, deaf to his cries, slays him in his house and prepares an evil feast.’
      • ‘I know there are none so deaf as those who do not want to hear, and that applies to the Leader of the Opposition.’
      • ‘Rule of mob is deaf to the voices of reason, and hence the rule of mob must be stopped at all costs.’
      • ‘Fear and horror became a routine in Kemet while Akhenaten was blind and deaf to the cries of his people.’
      unmoved by, untouched by, unaffected by, dispassionate about, indifferent to, heedless of, unresponsive to, unconcerned with, unmindful of, unaware of, unconscious of, oblivious to, insensible to, impervious to
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  • (as) deaf as a post

    • Completely or extremely deaf.

      • ‘But their house was the last one in the terrace, next to a lane - well, you know that, it's yours now - and the old boy that lived over the lane was as deaf as a post.’
      • ‘I found her batting at the door of the spice cupboard, yowling fit to wake Mrs R next door, and she's deaf as a post.’
      • ‘Our goalie was as deaf as a post, and tended not to hear our shouts to remind him the ball was coming until it was far too late.’
      • ‘This was always something of a drama as he'd become as deaf as a post and would stand in the hall shouting into the phone, ‘Hello?’’
      • ‘Now I live with a woman who is not only deaf as a post but, as a result of her stroke, has short-term memory loss.’
      • ‘She's a guest they have on Countdown who's as deaf as a post.’
      • ‘A nurse responsible for the care of America's greatest newspaperman, and she's as deaf as a post.’
      • ‘Sir Jack, by the way, is as deaf as a post these days and it is a real shame to see him being interviewed.’
      • ‘Grandma Jo on the other hand is all up for it and she probably didn't hear him in the first place because she's as deaf as a post!’
      • ‘The teacher, ‘Harry’ Harrison was about ninety years old and was as deaf as a post.’
      • ‘Will the next generation be deaf as posts by the time they're middle-aged?’
      • ‘Top form if you ignore the fact that she's as deaf as a post, and her eyesight is selective. But she's happy, and all is well.’
      • ‘It seems it's still easier to see me as a Machiavellian force preventing her from communicating with her friends than to accept that she's deaf as a post and increasingly anti-social.’
      hard of hearing, hearing-impaired, with impaired hearing, unhearing, stone deaf, deafened, profoundly deaf
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  • fall on deaf ears

    • (of a statement or request) be ignored.

      • ‘Alas, her request fell on deaf ears - Alex and Tiffany were squabbling over a chair.’
      • ‘But his pleas fell on deaf ears as panic-stricken people moved towards the water.’
      • ‘Yet Ethiopia's earlier appeals for concessions to the ruling have fallen on deaf ears.’
      • ‘I pleaded with them to close the park but my pleas fell on deaf ears.’
      • ‘I am sad to say that my plea fell on deaf ears, and I was denied opportunity to put this plan into action.’
      • ‘Unfortunately is would seem that our community pleas are falling on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Despite the sincerity of such statements, many of the concerns seemed to fall on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Although the Queen chatted as she handed it over, Mr Carmichael admitted that her words had fallen on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Sadly, the requests often fall on deaf ears with some power brokers too wrapped up in their own interests to act on what is right.’
      • ‘Churchill's words that our war heroes gave their yesterdays for our todays have certainly fallen on deaf ears.’
      • ‘His pleas fell on deaf ears as the jury took less then an hour to find him guilty.’
      • ‘But as far as I remember, he has always blamed me for the destruction of his bicycle, with my pleas for forgiveness falling on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Mr Hemmingham has written two letters requesting a meeting with the Owls supremo but both have fallen on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Mr Anderson said: ‘Our requests are falling on deaf ears.’’
      • ‘But the protests and concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears at the Scottish Prison Service.’
      • ‘Despite the fact that it echoed the private cries of so many, it seems likely to land on deaf ears in the media and the political elite.’
      • ‘The crew spotted another ship and flagged it down, but pleas for food fell on deaf ears, so that the crew was once again near starvation.’
      • ‘They always ignored her when she walked by, Garcia said, and any requests for a meeting fell on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Paris was besieged and starved into submission and the French pleas for foreign intervention fell on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Par for the course, cries for change in the industry have fallen on deaf ears.’
  • turn a deaf ear

    • Refuse to listen or respond to a statement or request.

      • ‘When the property management company turned a deaf ear to residents' advice, residents refused to pay the fees.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, these same people can turn a deaf ear when forced to listen to someone else's point of view.’
      • ‘The Minister is turning a deaf ear to the pleas of the people on the ground who know first hand what the situation is.’
      • ‘Her efforts to find her son a permanent job even as a peon have been futile; the block development officer turns a deaf ear to her requests, she says.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, despite the protests that women's organisations have made over the years, successive governments seem to have turned a deaf ear to their pleas.’
      • ‘On this occasion, the Coalition has turned a deaf ear to the advice of the Attorney General and an independent legal expert, both of whom believe it to be unconstitutional.’
      • ‘But no matter how many warning signs have been flashed-up and alarm bells rung up the Government is hell bent on on closing its eyes and turning a deaf ear.’
      • ‘You turned a deaf ear to the worldwide protests.’
      • ‘Like any parent whose pockets are empty, I turned a deaf ear.’
      • ‘Ever get the feeling our Prime Minister just turns a deaf ear whenever he's given information that doesn't fit neatly with his politics?’
      • ‘The federation spokesman today said it had to go ahead with the agitation as the government has turned a deaf ear to the demands of the doctors, who have repeatedly drawn attention to these demands for the past three years.’
      • ‘But the banking industry is apparently turning a deaf ear to the central bank's call as bank lending still stood high at around 17 percent to 18 percent.’
      • ‘While society turns a deaf ear to such helpless women, it gives full credence to unmarried females who are at liberty to decide the fates of innocent males.’
      • ‘When environmental concerns were initially raised, early on, Government turned a deaf ear.’
      • ‘In her complaint to the SSP, Ms Suman alleged that the despite repeated representations the local police turned a deaf ear to their grievances.’
      • ‘Not only was the boss unaware of the fact, but he turned a deaf ear to the numerous warnings of his editorial team and promoted the young journalist to the prestigious national reporting staff.’
      • ‘In spite of this, I sometimes feel like turning a deaf ear to their words, because often mindless politicians are not prudent when they make speeches in public.’
      • ‘The bishop has turned a deaf ear to their repeated pleas to him to reverse this decision.’
      • ‘She just accepted what the book said about how to feed our daughter, and turned a deaf ear to me, even if the hungry baby was crying for milk.’
      • ‘The fact of the matter is, this administration has turned a deaf ear to the industrial heartland.’
      pay no attention, pay no attention to, ignore, disregard, pay no heed, pay no heed to, take no account, take no account of, turn a deaf ear, turn a deaf ear to, brush aside, shrug off, set aside, turn a blind eye, turn a blind eye to, shut one's eyes, shut one's eyes to, pass over, let pass, let go, overlook, look the other way, pretend not to notice
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Old English dēaf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch doof and German taub, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek tuphlos ‘blind’.