Meaning of deaf in English:


Pronunciation /dɛf/

See synonyms for deaf

Translate deaf into Spanish


  • 1Lacking the power of hearing, or having impaired hearing.

    ‘there are deaf people out there who are doctors, nurses, and teachers’
    • ‘the track gave him the opportunity to work directly with deaf and hard-of-hearing children’
    • ‘there are many reasons why a child can be born deaf or become deaf early in life’
    • ‘I'm a bit deaf so you'll have to speak up’
    • ‘Thorn Park School is a day special school for deaf and partially hearing children from two to sixteen years of age.’
    • ‘If you're talking to a deaf person and a hearing person, don't just focus on the hearing person.’
    • ‘He is profoundly deaf and uses hearing aids until he can have a cochlea implant later this year.’
    • ‘Forty-four of the children have hearing problems or are deaf, and the rest are orphans.’
    • ‘The use of sign language by both the deaf and hearing communities is noteworthy as well.’
    • ‘He discovered the blast had made him quite deaf, and it was many days before his hearing was restored.’
    • ‘He was left deaf in his left ear with limited hearing in his right ear.’
    • ‘Matthew led a sponsored cycle ride to help to buy a hearing dog for a profoundly deaf teacher at the college.’
    • ‘He was not taught to sign at his school for the deaf and was instead taught to adapt to the hearing world by lip reading.’
    • ‘Education Bradford is proposing to teach more deaf children in the district's mainstream schools.’
    • ‘The first couple he tried were both profoundly deaf, and he didn't get much reaction beyond a bewildered smile.’
    • ‘He has been in India ever since, setting up his own centre for the deaf at Nambikkai, on the country's southern tip.’
    • ‘I turned the volume down some so I wouldn't go completely deaf.’
    • ‘Ashton became deaf at the age of just 18 months after suffering a bout of pneumonia.’
    • ‘Severely deaf children cannot hear their own voices.’
    hard of hearing, hearing-impaired, with impaired hearing, unhearing, stone deaf, deafened, profoundly deaf
    View synonyms
  • 2Unwilling or unable to hear or pay attention to something.

    ‘she is deaf to all advice’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Downing Street seems determined to remain deaf to all these voices of reason.’
    • ‘At this stage he's practically deaf to the cursing that fills the dressing room.’
    • ‘Rule of mob is deaf to the voices of reason, and hence the rule of mob must be stopped at all costs.’
    • ‘The ski industry is not deaf to criticism that it leaves a heavy footprint on the land.’
    • ‘I winced in pain, so distracted by his intensity that I was deaf to the clunking of boots on the concrete floor.’
    • ‘The soldiers would mumble rude things at us under their breath, so we learned to be deaf to them, or pretend to be.’
    • ‘Such was the constant buzzing around our ears that at first we were deaf to the sound of inbound propellers.’
    • ‘Fear and horror became a routine in Kemet while Akhenaten was blind and deaf to the cries of his people.’
    • ‘I know there are none so deaf as those who do not want to hear, and that applies to the Leader of the Opposition.’
    • ‘All these people are completely deaf to the pleas of business.’
    • ‘Will it also turn deaf to their pleas and allow the demolition of the secular order?’
    • ‘While those in positions to bring about change are deaf to their silent cries, WE can respond.’
    • ‘But the father, deaf to his cries, slays him in his house and prepares an evil feast.’
    • ‘Or do you rationalize your way into making decisions and following paths that keep you deaf to your inner voice?’
    • ‘He is not for turning; he is deaf to reason.’
    • ‘While the people have never been louder, the leaders have never been more deaf.’
    • ‘Why don't they take these blind, deaf and dumb politicians of their community to task?’
    unmoved by, untouched by, unaffected by, dispassionate about, indifferent to, heedless of, unresponsive to, unconcerned with, unmindful of, unaware of, unconscious of, oblivious to, insensible to, impervious to
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    as deaf as a post
    • Having very bad hearing.

      • ‘I wouldn't have heard it because I'm deaf as a post’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But their house was the last one in the terrace, next to a lane - well, you know that, it's yours now - and the old boy that lived over the lane was as deaf as a post.’
      • ‘This was always something of a drama as he'd become as deaf as a post and would stand in the hall shouting into the phone, ‘Hello?’’
      • ‘She's a guest they have on Countdown who's as deaf as a post.’
      • ‘The teacher, ‘Harry’ Harrison was about ninety years old and was as deaf as a post.’
      • ‘Top form if you ignore the fact that she's as deaf as a post, and her eyesight is selective. But she's happy, and all is well.’
      • ‘Our goalie was as deaf as a post, and tended not to hear our shouts to remind him the ball was coming until it was far too late.’
      • ‘Grandma Jo on the other hand is all up for it and she probably didn't hear him in the first place because she's as deaf as a post!’
      • ‘A nurse responsible for the care of America's greatest newspaperman, and she's as deaf as a post.’
      • ‘Sir Jack, by the way, is as deaf as a post these days and it is a real shame to see him being interviewed.’
      • ‘Will the next generation be deaf as posts by the time they're middle-aged?’
      hard of hearing, hearing-impaired, with impaired hearing, unhearing, stone deaf, deafened, profoundly deaf
      View synonyms
    fall on deaf ears
    • (of a statement or request) be ignored.

      ‘their pleas fell on deaf ears’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sadly, the requests often fall on deaf ears with some power brokers too wrapped up in their own interests to act on what is right.’
      • ‘But his pleas fell on deaf ears as panic-stricken people moved towards the water.’
      • ‘I pleaded with them to close the park but my pleas fell on deaf ears.’
      • ‘I am sad to say that my plea fell on deaf ears, and I was denied opportunity to put this plan into action.’
      • ‘His pleas fell on deaf ears as the jury took less then an hour to find him guilty.’
      • ‘But as far as I remember, he has always blamed me for the destruction of his bicycle, with my pleas for forgiveness falling on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Unfortunately is would seem that our community pleas are falling on deaf ears.’
      • ‘The crew spotted another ship and flagged it down, but pleas for food fell on deaf ears, so that the crew was once again near starvation.’
      • ‘Paris was besieged and starved into submission and the French pleas for foreign intervention fell on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Despite the sincerity of such statements, many of the concerns seemed to fall on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Churchill's words that our war heroes gave their yesterdays for our todays have certainly fallen on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Par for the course, cries for change in the industry have fallen on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Despite the fact that it echoed the private cries of so many, it seems likely to land on deaf ears in the media and the political elite.’
      • ‘Mr Hemmingham has written two letters requesting a meeting with the Owls supremo but both have fallen on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Although the Queen chatted as she handed it over, Mr Carmichael admitted that her words had fallen on deaf ears.’
      • ‘Yet Ethiopia's earlier appeals for concessions to the ruling have fallen on deaf ears.’
      • ‘But the protests and concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears at the Scottish Prison Service.’
    turn a deaf ear
    • Refuse to listen or respond to a statement or request.

      ‘he turned a deaf ear to all appeals’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While society turns a deaf ear to such helpless women, it gives full credence to unmarried females who are at liberty to decide the fates of innocent males.’
      • ‘Ever get the feeling our Prime Minister just turns a deaf ear whenever he's given information that doesn't fit neatly with his politics?’
      • ‘The Minister is turning a deaf ear to the pleas of the people on the ground who know first hand what the situation is.’
      • ‘But the banking industry is apparently turning a deaf ear to the central bank's call as bank lending still stood high at around 17 percent to 18 percent.’
      • ‘In spite of this, I sometimes feel like turning a deaf ear to their words, because often mindless politicians are not prudent when they make speeches in public.’
      • ‘But no matter how many warning signs have been flashed-up and alarm bells rung up the Government is hell bent on on closing its eyes and turning a deaf ear.’
      • ‘The federation spokesman today said it had to go ahead with the agitation as the government has turned a deaf ear to the demands of the doctors, who have repeatedly drawn attention to these demands for the past three years.’
      • ‘She just accepted what the book said about how to feed our daughter, and turned a deaf ear to me, even if the hungry baby was crying for milk.’
      • ‘Not only was the boss unaware of the fact, but he turned a deaf ear to the numerous warnings of his editorial team and promoted the young journalist to the prestigious national reporting staff.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, despite the protests that women's organisations have made over the years, successive governments seem to have turned a deaf ear to their pleas.’
      • ‘You turned a deaf ear to the worldwide protests.’
      • ‘On this occasion, the Coalition has turned a deaf ear to the advice of the Attorney General and an independent legal expert, both of whom believe it to be unconstitutional.’
      • ‘In her complaint to the SSP, Ms Suman alleged that the despite repeated representations the local police turned a deaf ear to their grievances.’
      • ‘Like any parent whose pockets are empty, I turned a deaf ear.’
      • ‘The fact of the matter is, this administration has turned a deaf ear to the industrial heartland.’
      • ‘When environmental concerns were initially raised, early on, Government turned a deaf ear.’
      • ‘The bishop has turned a deaf ear to their repeated pleas to him to reverse this decision.’


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