Definition of dumbbell in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈdəmbel/


Image of dumbbell
1A short bar with a weight at each end, used typically in pairs for exercise or muscle-building.
Example sentences
  • Acupressure treatment aids such as balls, dumb-bells and small cubes made of wood, believed to help improve blood circulation, are on offer for prices ranging from Rs.20 onwards.
  • For example, rather than a heavy barbell squat, just use light dumb-bells or a ball against the wall.
  • All candidates will be following a special exercise programme, which involves using the rowing machine and stretching with dumb-bells.
1.1 [as modifier] Shaped like a dumbbell: a dumbbell molecule
More example sentences
  • In the case of the large uranium nucleus it could even wobble into a dumb-bell shape, from which it might occasionally split into two distinct smaller nuclei of slightly unequal size.
  • The cup-marked stone shown below, in the Sma’ Glen, near Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland, is situated in a large man-made concave-shaped amphitheatre in the hills, and has a prominent dumb-bell shaped cup-mark on its surface.
  • Sometimes, dumb-bell or ring-shaped mitochondria occur but with no evidence of associated membrane degeneration.
2North American informal A stupid person.
Example sentences
  • She was really asleep in the car and David, the dumb-bell hadn't woken her up yet.


Early 18th century: originally denoting an apparatus similar to that used to ring a church bell (but without the bell, so noiseless or “dumb”); sense 2 (dating from the 1920s) is an extended use by association with dumb 'stupid'.

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