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mute

Syllabification: mute
Pronunciation: /myo͞ot
 
/

Definition of mute in English:

adjective

1Refraining from speech or temporarily speechless: Irene, the talkative one, was now mute
More example sentences
  • Police officers remained mute spectators as pedestrians, bikers, car drivers, autodrivers and other road users waited out the jams under a bright January sun.
  • The director appears in the last shot of all the stories, a mute spectator who is a symbol of society, which is portrayed as having become insensitive to everything.
  • In both the cases, the public remained mute spectators.
Synonyms
silent, speechless, dumb, unspeaking, tight-lipped, taciturn
informal mum, tongue-tied
1.1Not expressed in speech: she gazed at him in mute appeal
More example sentences
  • In the ground floor restaurants, every meal attracts a crowd of kids who press their faces against the glass in a mute appeal for food.
  • Mrs. Willis rolled her eyes toward Heaven in a mute appeal for help, while Adam laughed, put down a bag, and pushed the door open.
  • He crumbles before the mute appeal in his fellow musician's eye: ‘It felt like kicking a spaniel.’
Synonyms
wordless, silent, dumb, unspoken, unvoiced, unexpressed
1.2Characterized by an absence of sound; quiet: the great church was mute and dark
More example sentences
  • We are not here to consider the appeal of mute ruins, the hollowness of reason, the veneer of American order.
  • He didn't bother lifting his hand to search the extensive marble wall for the light switch as he removed his boots and his bare feet dragged slowly into the massive mute darkness before him.
  • Above him, attached to the wall, were 25 manual typewriters with rusted and missing parts, mute relics of an antiquated era in communication.
Synonyms
2 dated or offensive (Of a person) lacking the faculty of speech.
Example sentences
  • The mute boy on the back of Zach's bike is one of a group of disabled children looked after at a place called The Lake, a large rambling house in 40 acres of ground, owned by an eccentric called Anna.
  • McBride selects four of these soldiers and deposits them behind enemy lines, with a small and apparently mute child to take care of.
  • Set in the 19th century the book is the story of a mute child who has been living alone in the woods of Southern France.
Synonyms
dumb, unable to speak;
Medicine aphasic
3(Of a letter) not pronounced: mute e is generally dropped before suffixes beginning with a vowel

noun

Back to top  
1 dated or offensive A person lacking the faculty of speech.
Example sentences
  • ‘There seems to be an organization of mutes running around this city,’ she noted, sarcastically.
  • A 12-year-old child prodigy, a writer of westerns, a boxing star, a giant and a bald mute are the eclectic cast of characters who make up this surrealist black comedy.
  • And there is a certain humour in the decision to make the heroine a mute, in recognition of the fact, says Ackland, that ‘the heroines of thrillers were invariably dumb’.
1.1 historical (In some Asian countries) a servant who was deprived of the power of speech.
1.2 historical An actor in a dumbshow.
1.3 historical A professional attendant or mourner at a funeral.
Example sentences
  • He had a deep-seated loathing of the panoply of the Victorian funeral: mummers, mutes, plumes, palls, and all.
2A clamp placed over the bridge of a stringed instrument to deaden the resonance without affecting the vibration of the strings.
2.1A pad or cone placed in the opening of a brass or other wind instrument.
Example sentences
  • He said there was the possibility that the disappearance of the items, which also included four red and blue glitter hats, several brass mutes and three wooden music rests, was a mistake.
  • The cash paid for music, a PA system and mutes for the brass section.
  • On woodwinds, a cloth bag has sometimes been tied over the instrument, and small pear-shaped wooden mutes were made to fit into 18th-century oboe bells.
3A device on a television, telephone, or other appliance that temporarily turns off the sound: she put the remote on mute
More example sentences
  • He then quietly crept downstairs to get himself a drink, consciousness now having taken a hold on him, and then he flicked around the television channels on mute until his parents woke up.
  • The twenty-three year old man was going through photos, the television on mute as he picked up a magazine.
  • Aimée nodded absently and sat down beside her friend just as she heard the front door open, but ignored it and took the mute off the television.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Deaden, muffle, or soften the sound of: her footsteps were muted by the thick carpet he turns the set on, mutes the sound, but flicks through the channels
More example sentences
  • Sounds are muted with dull explosions and gunfire, and the music is very dreary.
  • ‘The thick curtains also help mute the sound of our son's rock band rehearsals,’ says Hertz.
  • The third can at least be muted by some dampening, and by putting sufficient thought into case design and component layout to minimise sympathetic vibrations.
Synonyms
deaden, muffle, dampen, soften, quiet, hush;
stifle, smother, suppress
1.1Muffle the sound of (a musical instrument), especially by the use of a mute.
Example sentences
  • Use a keyboard which has shortcut keys for instantly muting the sound though.
  • To keep the drums from becoming overpowering onstage and in the mix, they were muted with a set of SoundOff drum set silencers.
  • The guitarists spend much of the show muting their strings and one of them actually sits out on a few songs, sparing the music of any clutter.
1.2Reduce the strength or intensity of: his professional contentment was muted by personal sadness
More example sentences
  • By using blue filters that mute the intensity of bright colors, he gives his film a stark, wintry feel.
  • It is too early to tell if such aggressive measures will mute the violence or stoke it.
  • Surprisingly Jack was a subtle presence; muting her usual impact and actually helping them do their jobs.
Synonyms
restrain, soften, tone down, moderate, temper

Origin

Middle English: from Old French muet, diminutive of mu, from Latin mutus.

Usage

1 To describe a person without the power of speech as mute (especially as in deaf-mute) is today likely to cause offense and is often regarded as outdated. Nevertheless, there is no directly equivalent term for mute in general use, apart from speech-impaired. The term profoundly deaf may be used to imply that a person has not developed any spoken language skills. See also deaf mute (usage). 2 Is it mute point or moot point? See moot (usage).

Derivatives

mutely

1
adverb
Example sentences
  • I mutely watched as a silent battle of wills raged between the two, glad for once I wasn't a part of it.
  • We both nodded mutely and silently returned to the den to talk it over with each other.
  • The girl continued to gaze back at him mutely, expressing no reaction.

muteness

2
noun
Example sentences
  • My unusual muteness must have made him wonder if I was having second thoughts.
  • Pardon, I am traveling with a girl that had been cursed by muteness.
  • He had suddenly developed selective muteness in school for days or even a whole week at a time on five different documented occasions since the previous October.

Definition of mute in:

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