Main definitions of mute in English

: mute1mute2

mute1

Pronunciation /myo͞ot/ /mjut/

Translate mute into Spanish

adjective

  • 1Refraining from speech or temporarily speechless.

    ‘Irene, the talkative one, was now mute’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These intensive singing sessions are exactly that as I discovered one Tuesday evening recently, sitting in mute admiration.’
    • ‘They stood mute spectators when irate employees chased the Vice-Chancellor of a university around the State Assembly.’
    • ‘At first, the watchers, except the most determined walkers and the really serious lovers, remain mute spectators.’
    • ‘Perhaps, accustomed as he was to hearing such queries and taunts by the driver, the conductor remained a mute spectator.’
    • ‘The police were mute spectators to the entire incident which took place right outside the KEM hospital.’
    • ‘All the while the police remained a mute spectator only trying to ensure that fatal injuries were not inflicted.’
    • ‘I was thereafter keen to attend the classes with my brother, if only as a mute spectator.’
    • ‘‘She used to be big as a horse,’ one of the officers said to a colleague, who nodded in mute admiration.’
    • ‘The rest of the crowded carriage watched in mute silence.’
    • ‘With this anti-intellectual attitude, I ought to be mute every time I detect scientific ignorance in a movie's story or set design.’
    silent, speechless, dumb, unspeaking, wordless, voiceless, tongue-tied, at a loss for words, tight-lipped, close-mouthed, taciturn, uncommunicative
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    1. 1.1Not expressed in speech.
      ‘she gazed at him in mute appeal’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘He looked at me in mute appeal as if I was a rope held out to a falling person.’
      • ‘I've seen, as have we all, theft, fraud, intimidation, malversation - and seen it with such regularity that its absence provokes not comment but mute wonder.’
      • ‘Sara stared down at the letter in mute astonishment.’
      • ‘These beliefs may be wrong - the innocent who are indicted nevertheless may sit by in mute horror, and husbands who lose their families in one fell swoop may be frozen in depression as a result.’
      • ‘Of course, there was the flood of hormones which evoked embarrassed silence (and mute curses) from him; but more importantly, he knew nothing about her.’
      • ‘The range was unique in that every golf range I've ever been to has golf balls lying around within a dozen feet or so of the practice tees - mute evidence of the ineptitude of those whaling away.’
      • ‘Dean Stockwell is often overlooked in his portrayal of Walt, but he has a difficult job here, playing off Travis's mute determination, and he succeeds admirably.’
      • ‘It is easy to imagine the fear and rage and grief of the combatants, harder to see it in the cool press briefings of the leaders who make war and the often mute suffering of the populations who must endure and support it.’
      • ‘With mute excitement I quickly snapped it up, paid and exited the store - only to suddenly realise that Durgnat wasn't the author I had in mind when I whipped his book off the shelf.’
      • ‘When they returned home two hours later, they discovered Chris's mattress on the floor and almost in the hallway, mute testimony to the haste with which he grabbed his son out of bed.’
      • ‘He stomped his foot to the floor and quite suddenly drew a gun to the air - the former chuckles from the crowd instantly transformed to a collectively mute distress.’
      • ‘So she constructs a fantastic house of cards as a mute statement - an apparent attempt to connect with her family and explain her annoying behavior.’
      • ‘They opposed the 16th century Spanish conquest and remained in a state of mute resistance over the years, exploding in rebellion at the end of the 18th century.’
      • ‘We stood and stared blankly at it in mute amazement.’
      • ‘She stood in mute shock, dresses draped over her arm.’
      • ‘An uncomfortable silence fell over the room and Andy quietly sat, her chin lifted in mute defiance, as her mother and stepfather stared at her.’
      • ‘But many of the faithful, concluding that there is no smoke without fire, are simply averting their gaze in mute despair.’
      wordless, silent, dumb, tacit, unspoken, inarticulate, unvoiced, unsaid, unexpressed, unuttered
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    2. 1.2Characterized by an absence of sound; quiet.
      ‘the great church was mute and dark’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As she climbs she warily eyes dozens of tiny, mute silhouettes outlined against the windowpanes - flies awaiting the warmth of the day.’
      quiet, silent, noiseless, soundless, hushed
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  • 2dated, offensive (of a person) lacking the faculty of speech.

    unable to speak
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  • 3(of a letter) not pronounced.

    • ‘mute e is generally dropped before suffixes beginning with a vowel’

noun

  • 1dated, offensive A person lacking the faculty of speech.

    • ‘‘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. 1.1historical (in some Asian countries) a servant who was deprived of the power of speech.
    2. 1.2historical An actor in a dumbshow.
    3. 1.3historical A professional attendant or mourner at a funeral.
      • ‘an undertaker's mute’
      • ‘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.

    1. 2.1A pad or cone placed in the opening of a brass or other wind instrument to soften the sound.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘She laughed at how they were both carrying trumpets, only one had a mute in the other hand.’
      • ‘The cone-shaped device looks like a trumpet mute.’
  • 3A device on a television, telephone, or other appliance that temporarily turns off the sound.

    ‘she put the television on mute’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The larger screen served at the moment as a television outlet on mute.’
    • ‘Now she speaks but without a sound, like the television personalities on mute.’
    • ‘It's so close, again, that when you hear the crowds roar on the television and then hit mute, you can still hear the crowds roar, even through closed windows.’
    • ‘Then the show came back on and the television was taken off mute.’
    • ‘I was in my room, alone in the house once again, watching the television on mute.’
    • ‘It's also important to put your television on mute to make the most of the experience.’
    • ‘After getting hurriedly dressed, she went to the television, put the sound on mute, and headed to a loud rock channel.’
    • ‘There are also in-use indicator lights for both talk and mute, and when mute is engaged, the user hears a ‘beep’ as an audible reminder.’
    • ‘Now I know that the sound of a TV on mute is an ultra high frequency sound.’
    • ‘‘Him’, I point at the screen as I grab the remote to turn the mute off.’
    • ‘The T.V. went to commercial and Jaime grabbed the remote to turn the mute on.’
    • ‘It has volume control, mute and push-to-talk buttons all within one housing.’
    • ‘I had the television - a football game halftime show - on mute in my room.’
    • ‘Tony flicked on the TV too, but kept the sound on mute as he entered the chat room for the scheduled hack.’
    • ‘Maximillian watched her until she disappeared into the lift before he took the mute off the sound system.’
    • ‘The cars, the people, even birds flying through the sky were moving at a super fast pace, but the sound was on mute.’

transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Deaden, muffle, or soften the sound of.

    • ‘her footsteps were muted by the thick carpet’
    deaden, muffle, mask, dull, dampen, damp down, soften, silence
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    1. 1.1Muffle the sound of (a musical instrument), especially by the use of a mute.
      • ‘when muted and blown hard the trombone produces a very nasal and metallic sound’
    2. 1.2Reduce the strength or intensity of.
      • ‘his professional contentment was muted by personal sadness’
      restrain, soften, subdue, tone down, make less intense, moderate, temper, soft-pedal
      View synonyms

Usage

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

Origin

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

Main definitions of mute in English

: mute1mute2

mute2

Pronunciation /myo͞ot/ /mjut/

Translate mute into Spanish

noun

archaic
  • A pack of hounds.

    • ‘the abbot had a mute of hounds’

Origin

Late Middle English from Anglo-Norman mut, mute, moute ‘pack of hounds trained for hunting’, from Latin movere ‘to move’.