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adj. mut·er, mut·est
1. Refraining from producing speech or vocal sound.
a. Offensive Unable to speak.
b. Unable to vocalize, as certain animals.
3. Expressed without speech; unspoken: a mute appeal.
4. Law Declining to enter a plea to a criminal charge: standing mute.
5. Linguistics
a. Not pronounced; silent, as the e in the word house.
b. Pronounced with a temporary stoppage of breath, as the sounds (p) and (b); plosive; stopped.
1. Offensive One who is incapable of speech.
2. Law A defendant who declines to enter a plea to a criminal charge.
3. Music Any of various devices used to muffle or soften the tone of an instrument.
4. Linguistics
a. A silent letter.
b. A plosive; a stop.
tr.v. mut·ed, mut·ing, mutes
1. To soften or muffle the sound of.
2. To soften the tone, color, shade, or hue of.

[Middle English muet, from Old French, from diminutive of mu, from Latin mūtus.]

mute′ly adv.
mute′ness n.
Usage Note: In reference to people who are unable to speak, mute and deaf-mute are now usually considered objectionable. Unlike blind and deaf, which are straightforward terms that need not be avoided out of fear of causing offense, mute and deaf-mute have fallen out of use and are likely to evoke older stereotypes of helplessness or pitiableness. They are especially objectionable if taken to imply that a person who cannot or does not use oral speech is thereby deprived of language. Many people who lack the ability to speak now converse through ASL or similar sign languages, which have the same communicative utility as spoken language. See Usage Note at deaf.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.muteness - the condition of being unable or unwilling to speak; "her muteness was a consequence of her deafness"
condition, status - a state at a particular time; "a condition (or state) of disrepair"; "the current status of the arms negotiations"
deaf-muteness, deaf-mutism - congenital deafness that results in inability to speak
2.muteness - a refusal to speak when expected; "his silence about my contribution was surprising"
uncommunicativeness - the trait of being uncommunicative


The avoidance of speech:
References in periodicals archive ?
Researchers from China developed a wearable artificial throat that mute people can use without an invasive surgery.A
The researchers said that, in the future, mute people could be trained to generate signals with their throats that the device would translate into speech.
"During the whole process of learning sign language, I also interacted with many mute people. Since Sangeeta works with a lot of children who are deaf and dumb, I saw how they suffer.
Karachi -- Two Karachi-based female software engineers have developed an Urdu speech therapy mobile application for mute people called 'Bolotech' has been developed by two Karachi based female software engineers.
A GLOVE that allows mute people to speak, an app that lets you search your phone by sketching photographs and a realistic horror game that gets harder the more it scares you are the three Bahraini entries to this year's Imagine Cup.