Definition of dullness in US English:


(also dulness)


  • 1Lack of interest or excitement.

    ‘tasks of such repetitive and numbing dullness’
    ‘a desert of unremitting flatness and dullness’
    ‘the dullness of domestic life’
    • ‘The drama of his voice is diminished by the dullness of the musical setting.’
    • ‘He is daily enraged by the hectoring of his parents and the dullness of his paper-shuffling job.’
    • ‘In this case, though, the group's consistency is due to the dullness of its music.’
    • ‘To tell the truth, my life was so complicated now, that I could use a little dullness.’
    • ‘For the viewer or the reader, this can be a pleasant experience, a feeling of ease, without boredom or dullness.’
    • ‘Another insider said the campaign reflected the dullness of political advertising in Ireland.’
    • ‘It was just this sort of plodding dullness that made corporations work relatively efficiently.’
    • ‘In it he described with realism and satire the dullness of life in a small Midwestern town.’
    • ‘Their ponderous dullness fails to convey either the excitement of intellectual exploration or its importance.’
    • ‘The Party's central organ, once the epitome of dullness, has had to brighten itself up to compete against more sprightly daily newspapers.’
  • 2Lack of brightness, vividness, or sheen.

    ‘flowery options to brighten up the dullness of autumn’
    ‘the summer light cut into the dullness of the room’
    ‘the dullness of the colors’
    • ‘The colors are all vibrantly rendered without any dullness.’
    • ‘Most of the colors here are well rendered and bright, though there is a slight dullness in the picture at times.’
    • ‘A great contribution to the event is the lighting plot: the sky turns from the heat of sunsets in Jamaica to the dullness of Devon.’
    • ‘He noticed the drag in Michael's step, the paleness of his usually dark face, and the dullness in his eyes.’
    • ‘The sky was bright, contrasting with the dullness of bare branches reaching towards it.’
    • ‘Colors were appropriately subdued; even dark scenes avoided dullness for the most part, keeping browns and blacks relatively rich and true.’
    • ‘As skin starts showing dullness and fine lines, choose a foundation that softens and camouflages flaws.’
    • ‘In fact, teeth whitening may not work for some people at all, depending on whether the source of the dullness is external or intrinsic.’
    • ‘The angel's yellow sleeve and pink-accented wing and cheek animate the studied dullness of taupe vestments and pitch background.’
    • ‘Hair care poses a big problem, for constant setting, colouring and blow-drying may easily result in dryness, dullness and lifelessness.’
  • 3The quality of being slow to understand; stupidity.

    ‘critical comments on the stupidity or dullness of those in authority’
    ‘dullness of comprehension’
    • ‘Most of us have no idea of what could happen in our lives if we would overcome our stupidity and dullness.’
    • ‘Many writers have commented on the brilliance of Trotsky and the dullness of Stalin.’
    • ‘In drama, a dullness has crept in because intellectualism isn't a word you're allowed to utter any more.’
    • ‘I think Republicans and Democrats are equally unintelligent, but Ted's recent antics have tipped the scales measuring mental dullness in the Democrats' favor.’
    • ‘Stupidity, density, foolishness, dullness; no matter how you name it, it does not exist!’
    • ‘But the stupid person is cold and fearful, through the dullness of his understanding and laziness of the senses.’
    1. 3.1 The quality of not perceiving things distinctly.
      ‘you might notice mental dullness that feels like a hangover’
      ‘dullness of vision’
      ‘70 percent of clubbers suffer dullness of hearing or ringing in the ears’
      • ‘Data from human studies indicate that decompression at 1,000 feet/minute results in excitement and euphoria, followed by sensory dullness, weakness, and unconsciousness.’
      • ‘It felt a bit like being drunk but without the dullness
      • ‘Percussion revealed dullness at the base of the right lung.’
      • ‘Keenly mortified by the dullness of his senses and instincts, he knew he was no companion for Swinburne.’
      • ‘Three-quarters of party-goers who throng nightclubs on a regular basis experience ringing in their ears or dullness of hearing afterwards.’