Difference Between Dumb and Stupid

Main Difference – Dumb vs Stupid

Dumb and stupid are two adjectives that are often used to refer to unintelligence or ignorance. Although these two words have similar meanings, there is a difference between them based on their usage.  It is mainly in American English that dumb is used as a synonym for stupid.  Dumb has some additional meanings apart from this meaning. This is the main difference between dumb and stupid.Difference Between Dumb and Stupid - infographic

Dumb – Meaning and Usage

The adjective dumb originally had the meaning mute, or unable to speak. This adjective was originally used to describe a person who is unable to speak due to a congenital deafness or temporary inability or unwillingness to speak. But at present, dumb is used as a synonym for stupid or unintelligent. This usage is very popular in American English.

This new meaning of dumb has become so popular that dumb is now considered as a pejorative word. Therefore, dumb is no longer used to refer to a person who cannot speak. Terms like speech-impaired are considered more polite alternatives. But dumb can be used to refer to temporary inability to speak. The following examples will help you to understand the meanings and usage of this adjective verb.

That was a dumb question!

I stood dumb while he roared in anger.

I don’t want to play with him – he is dumb.

How can you be so dumb?

She stated at him in dumb amazement.

Don’t act dumb.Main Difference - Dumb vs Stupid

Stupid – Meaning and Usage

Stupid is an adjective referring to the lack of intelligence or common sense.  It is synonymous with unintelligent, ignorant, dimwitted, and foolish. In informal speech, stupid can also be used as a noun to refer to an unintelligent person. Stupid can also refer to dazed and unable to think logically. Given below are some examples explaining the meaning and usage of stupid.

Why didn’t you call me, stupid?

Don’t ask stupid questions, please.

Why are you so stupid?

It was stupid of you to hide from them.

Two bottles of wine couldn’t make him stupid.

He had a stupid expression on his face.

She is just a stupid, old woman.Difference Between Dumb and Stupid

Difference Between Dumb and Stupid


Dumb can mean

– temporary inability or unwillingness to speak

-inability to talk due to a health condition (offensive)

-unintelligent or ignorant

Stupid means unintelligent or ignorant.


Dumb does not refer to unintelligence only. 

Stupid only refers to unintelligence and ignorance.


Dumb is not used as a noun.

Stupid can be informally used as a noun.


Dumb is more commonly used in American English.

Stupid is used in both American and British English.

Image Courtesy:

“Drink Coffee Stupid” by   via

“Be Smart Act Dumb” – NARA – 514912″ By  U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

Related pages

cocci bacteria examplestransmittance and absorbance relationshippecan and walnut differencepattern of formal and informal letterswhy is baso4 insoluble in waterlinking verb and action verbwhat is structuralism and functionalismdefine karyokinesis and cytokinesisdifference between folic acid and ironpomello fruitdifference between sensors and actuatorsseals and sea lions differenceare jungles and rainforests the samewhat are the principal differences between mitosis and meiosismonocots and dicots seeds examplesis i a noun or pronounwhat is the difference between recession and depressionwhat are elastic and inelastic collisionsdiff between turtle and tortoiselip smoochwhat is the difference between revolution and rotationdifferences between conduction convection and radiationmeaning of cold blooded animalsexample of prejudice and stereotypeexamples of juxtaposition in literaturewhat is de jure and de factoaspects of paralanguageslime layer bacteriadifference between flirting and friendlydefinition of assertive sentenceexplain alliterationdifference between immigrant and emmigrantdifference between lemons and limesdifference between adoption and adaptationdefinition of closed syllablewhat is the difference between predicting and inferringfree market synonymmain differences between mitosis and meiosishow to find the volume of a semi sphererubbing alcohol propertiesstatic meaning in tagalogexamples of assimilation in infantsdifference between chromatid and chromosomefear and phobia differencedifference between gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysisdefine intermolecular bondsvintage versus antiquechemistry definition of volatileuses of convex lens wikipediawhat is the difference between finite and nonfinite verbspyelonephritis signs and symptomsmodern tragedy characteristicsmacbeth protagonistdifference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cellsvector subtraction graphicallygumpaste and fondantdifference between dietician and nutritionistis absorbance directly proportional to concentrationbacillary dysentery definitionmercurous nitrate testexample of cacophonyferrous oxideproducer and consumer surplus graphdefine elocutionistzener effectwhat is the difference between a flat white and latteto demonstrate conservation of linear momentumgraveyard cemeterythe difference between enquiry and inquirymonocot and dicot examplespiaget assimilation accomodationexample of archaic dictiondifference between a alligator and crocodilesentence for onomatopoeiadefinition bod