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Alternative forms[edit]


From dumb +‎ -y.


  • IPA(key): /ˈdʌmi/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌmi


dummy (plural dummies)

  1. (dated) A silent person; a person who does not talk.
    Synonym: dumby
    Coordinate term: mute
    • 1940, Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter:
      The man's name [] was engraved in the centre, and beneath this, written in ink with the same elaborate precision as the engraving, there was a brief message.
      I am a deaf-mute, but I read the lips and understand what is said to me. Please do not shout.
      [] Singer looked very carefully at his lips when he spoke—he had noticed that before. But a dummy!
  2. A stupid person.
    Synonyms: dumby, dumdum
    Coordinate terms: half-wit, idiot
    Don't be such a dummy!
  3. (African-American Vernacular, Baltimore, slang) A term of address.
    Synonyms: dude, bro
    Coordinate term: stupid
    Hey dummy, what's good wit chu?
  4. A figure of a person or animal used by a ventriloquist; a puppet.
  5. Something constructed with the size and form of a human, to be used in place of a person.
    Synonyms: mannequin, marionette
    To understand the effects of the accident, we dropped a dummy from the rooftop.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, translated by H.L. Brækstad, Folk and Fairy Tales, page 304:
      "There's a remedy, it does try one, but never mind," said Gubjor; "I shall make a dummy baby, which I shall bury in the churchyard, and then the dead will believe they have got the child, take my word, they won't know but what it is the real baby!"
  6. A person who is the mere tool of another; a man of straw.
  7. A deliberately nonfunctional device or tool used in place of a functional one.
    The hammer and drill in the display are dummies.
    • 1950, National Bureau of Standards Miscellaneous Publication, page 138:
      The second method was to use two loadometers under the wheels of one axle, mounting the wheels of the other axle on what we called "equalizing blocks" or "dummies." By that method the two axles are brought into the same horizontal plane []
  8. (Australia, UK, New Zealand) A "dummy teat"; a plastic or rubber teat used to soothe or comfort a baby; a pacifier. [from 20th c.]
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:pacifier
    The baby wants her dummy.
    • 2006, Tizzie Hall, Save Our Sleep: A Parents′ Guide Towards Happy, Sleeping Babies from Birth to Two Years, MacMillan, published 2009, page 200:
      Then on the fifth day, at the first sleep of the day, remove the dummy and follow my settling guide for your baby′s age. You should throw all her dummies in the bin to ensure you are not tempted to use them again – even outside sleep times.
    • 2008, Bern, Bern's Fairy Tales[1], page 15:
      No Fairy baby has ever been seen to suck its thumb or to use a dummy.
    • 2011, Simone Cave, Caroline Fertleman, Baby to Toddler Month by Month, page 85:
      We′ve found that going cold turkey works best – you check that your baby isn't ill or teething, then throw all dummies away. When your baby cries for her dummy, you can look her in the eye and say, ‘It′s gone,’ and really mean it.
  9. (card games, chiefly bridge) A player whose hand is shown and is to be played from by another player.
  10. (linguistics) A word serving only to make a construction grammatical.
    The pronoun "it" in "It's a mystery why this happened" is a dummy.
  11. (programming) An unused parameter or value.
    If flag1 is false, the other parameters are dummies.
  12. (sports, chiefly rugby, soccer) A feigned pass or kick or play in order to deceive an opponent.
  13. (sports, UK) A bodily gesture meant to fool an opposing player; a feint.
    Synonym: juke
    • 2011 January 12, Saj Chowdhury, “Blackpool 2 - 1 Liverpool”, in BBC[2]:
      Raul Meireles was the victim of the home side's hustling on this occasion giving the ball away to the impressive David Vaughan who slipped in Taylor-Fletcher. The striker sold Daniel Agger with the best dummy of the night before placing his shot past keeper Pepe Reina.
  14. (attributive) A newborn animal that is indifferent to stimulus and does not voluntarily move.
    a dummy calf, lamb, or foal

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

  • (silent person): dumb
  • (stupid person): dumb


See also[edit]

(non-functional device):

(gesture meant to fool):

Further reading[edit]


dummy (third-person singular simple present dummies, present participle dummying, simple past and past participle dummied)

  1. To make a mock-up or prototype version of something, without some or all off its intended functionality.
    The carpenters dummied some props for the rehearsals.
  2. (sports) To feint.
    Synonym: juke
    • 2011 February 1, Mandeep Sanghera, “Man Utd 3 - 1 Aston Villa”, in BBC[3]:
      The more glamorous qualities usually associated with him are skill and pace and he used those to race on to a ball across him and dummy a defender before having a right-foot shot saved.
    • 2011 January 15, Kevin Darling, “West Ham 0 - 3 Arsenal”, in BBC[4]:
      For the first, the 30-year-old allowed Walcott space on the right to send in a pass that was expertly dummied by Samir Nasri, allowing Van Persie to swivel and smash right-footed past Robert Green.


dummy (comparative more dummy, superlative most dummy)

  1. (slang) Extremely.
    It's dummy hot outside.

Derived terms[edit]