- (of a computer terminal) able only to transmit data to or receive data from a computer; having no independent processing capability. Often contrasted with intelligent.
Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse dumbr and Gothic dumbs 'mute', also to Dutch dom 'stupid' and German dumm 'stupid'
Although dumb meaning ‘not able to speak’ is the older sense, it has been overwhelmed by the newer sense (meaning ‘stupid’) to such an extent that the use of the first sense is now almost certain to cause offense. Alternatives such as speech-impaired should be used instead. See also deaf-mute (usage).