Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to muting: mutiny
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.
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.
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.]
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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.