from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Partially or completely lacking in the sense of hearing.
  • adj. Of or relating to the Deaf or their culture.
  • adj. Unwilling or refusing to listen; heedless: was deaf to our objections.
  • n. Deaf people considered as a group. Used with the.
  • n. The community of deaf people who use American Sign Language as a primary means of communication. Used with the.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not having the faculty of hearing, or only partially able to hear.
  • n. Deaf people considered as a group.
  • v. To deafen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Wanting the sense of hearing, either wholly or in part; unable to perceive sounds; hard of hearing.
  • adj. Unwilling to hear or listen; determinedly inattentive; regardless; not to be persuaded as to facts, argument, or exhortation; -- with to.
  • adj. Deprived of the power of hearing; deafened.
  • adj. Obscurely heard; stifled; deadened.
  • adj. Decayed; tasteless; dead
  • transitive v. To deafen.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Lacking the sense of hearing; insensible to sounds.
  • Unable to hear, or to hear clearly, in consequence of some defect or obstruction in the organs of hearing; defective in ability to perceive or discriminate sounds; dull of hearing: as, a deaf man; to be deaf in one ear.
  • Refusing to listen or to hear; unwilling to regard or give heed; unmoved or unpersuaded; insensible: as, deaf to entreaty; deaf to all argument or reason.
  • Lacking sharpness or clearness; dull; stifled; obscurely heard; confused.
  • Numb.
  • Barren; sterile; blasted: as, deaf land; deaf corn.
  • To make deaf; deprive of hearing; deafen; stun with noise.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (usually followed by `to') unwilling or refusing to pay heed
  • adj. lacking or deprived of the sense of hearing wholly or in part
  • n. people who have severe hearing impairments
  • v. make or render deaf


Middle English def, deef, from Old English dēaf.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English dēaf, from Proto-Germanic *daubaz. (Wiktionary)


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  • The temptation to discuss, solely in the light of Helen Keller, the whole matter of educating the deaf is a dangerous one, and one which I have not taken particular care to avoid, because my opinions are of no authority and I have merely tried to suggest problems and reinforce some of the main ideas expressed by Miss Sullivan, who is an authority.

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  • He felt the ridicule which was attached to the mute character of the Legislative Body, which he called his deaf and dumb assembly.

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