Definition of deaf in English:

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Pronunciation: /def/


1Lacking the power of hearing or having impaired hearing: I’m a bit deaf deaf children
More example sentences
  • Thorn Park School is a day special school for deaf and partially hearing children from two to sixteen years of age.
  • Budgie is a hearing dog for the deaf and was brought in for assembly by his owner Tracy Lewis, who lives in the town.
  • If you're talking to a deaf person and a hearing person, don't just focus on the hearing person.
1.1Unwilling or unable to hear or pay attention to something: she is deaf to all advice
More example sentences
  • As I said last weekend, it's easy to become deaf to the sirens in Hackney.
  • It may be that I've been deaf to the roar of protest that has met this authoritarian and intrusive measure.
  • You appear to excel at giving orders but are deaf to the needs of your employees.
unmoved by, untouched by, unaffected by, indifferent to, unresponsive to, unconcerned by;
unaware of, oblivious to, incognizant of, impervious to



(as) deaf as a post

Completely or extremely deaf.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

fall on deaf ears

(Of a statement or request) be ignored.
Example sentences
  • They always ignored her when she walked by, Garcia said, and any requests for a meeting fell on deaf ears.
  • Mr Anderson said: ‘Our requests are falling on deaf ears.’
  • Alas, her request fell on deaf ears - Alex and Tiffany were squabbling over a chair.

turn a deaf ear

Refuse to listen or respond to a statement or request.
Example sentences
  • 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, these same people can turn a deaf ear when forced to listen to someone else's point of view.
  • When the property management company turned a deaf ear to residents' advice, residents refused to pay the fees.


Old English dēaf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch doof and German taub, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek tuphlos 'blind'.

  • The ancient ancestor of deaf also produced Greek tuphlos ‘blind’. It probably referred to general dullness in perception, rather than dullness in any particular sense. Emphatic comparisons include as deaf as an adder and as deaf as a post. The traditional deafness of an adder is based on an image in the Psalms, ‘the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear’. Actually, all snakes are deaf, not just the adder—they ‘hear’ by means of sensors that pick up vibrations in the ground such as footsteps.

Words that rhyme with deaf

chef, clef, def, eff, Geoff, Jeff, Kiev, ref, teff, tone-deaf

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: deaf

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