from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Lacking in brightness.
  • adjective Emitting only a small amount of light; faint: synonym: dark.
  • adjective Lacking luster; dull or subdued.
  • adjective Faintly or unclearly perceived; indistinct.
  • adjective Lacking sharpness or clarity; vague.
  • adjective Weak or diminished; feeble.
  • adjective Negative, unfavorable, or disapproving.
  • adjective Dull or slow-witted.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To make or become dim.
  • noun A parking light on a motor vehicle.
  • noun A low beam.
  • noun Archaic Dusk.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make dim, faint, or obscure; render less bright, clear, or distinct; becloud; obscure; tarnish; sully: as, to dim the eye; to dim the vision; to dim the prospect; to dim gold.
  • To become dim, faint, or obscure; fade.
  • Faintly luminous; somewhat obscure from lack of light or luminosity; dark; obscure; shadowy.
  • Not clearly seen; indistinct; obscured by some intervening medium imperfectly transparent, as mist or haze; misty; hazy; hence, figuratively, not clearly apprehended; faint; vague: as, a dim prospect; a dim recollection.
  • Dull in luster; lusterless; tarnished.
  • Not seeing clearly; having the vision obscured and indistinct, as the eye.
  • Not clearly apprehending; dull of apprehension.
  • =Syn.2. Indistinct, ill-defined, indefinite, shadowy, confused, mysterious, imperfect.
  • noun The dark; darkness; night.
  • An abbreviation of diminuendo.
  • noun An abbreviation of diminutive
  • noun of the Latin dimidius, one half.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Not bright or distinct; wanting luminousness or clearness; obscure in luster or sound; dusky; darkish; obscure; indistinct; overcast; tarnished.
  • adjective Of obscure vision; not seeing clearly; hence, dull of apprehension; of weak perception; obtuse.
  • transitive verb To render dim, obscure, or dark; to make less bright or distinct; to take away the luster of; to darken; to dull; to obscure; to eclipse.
  • transitive verb To deprive of distinct vision; to hinder from seeing clearly, either by dazzling or clouding the eyes; to darken the senses or understanding of.
  • intransitive verb To grow dim.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Not bright or colorful.
  • adjective Not smart or intelligent.
  • adjective Indistinct, hazy or unclear.
  • adjective Disapproving, unfavorable: rarely used outside the phrase take a dim view of.
  • verb transitive To make something less bright.
  • verb intransitive To become darker.

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

  • verb become dim or lusterless
  • verb make dim or lusterless
  • adjective made dim or less bright
  • adjective lacking in light; not bright or harsh
  • verb become vague or indistinct
  • adjective lacking clarity or distinctness
  • adjective slow to learn or understand; lacking intellectual acuity
  • verb make dim by comparison or conceal
  • adjective offering little or no hope
  • verb switch (a car's headlights) from a higher to a lower beam


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

[Middle English, from Old English.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English dimm. Compare Icelandic dimmur ("dark") and dimma ("darkness").


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  • Context: "it doesn't treat the reader as dim or ignorant in any way" (on The Golden Compass)

    November 21, 2007