adjective, deaf·er, deaf·est.
- partially or wholly lacking or deprived of the sense of hearing; unable to hear.
- refusing to listen, heed, or be persuaded; unreasonable or unyielding: deaf to all advice.
- (initial capital letter) of or relating to the Deaf or their cultural community: Deaf customs and values.
noun (used with a plural verb)
- deaf persons collectively (usually preceded by the): social services for the deaf.
- (initial capital letter) deaf persons who identify themselves as members of a community composed of deaf persons and others who share in their culture (usually preceded by the).
- partially or totally unable to hear
- (as collective noun; preceded by the)the deaf See also tone-deaf
- refusing to heeddeaf to the cries of the hungry
Old English deaf “deaf,” also “empty, barren,” specialized from Proto-Germanic *daubaz (cf. Old Saxon dof, Old Norse daufr, Old Frisian daf, Dutch doof “deaf,” German taub, Gothic daufs “deaf, insensate”), from PIE dheubh-, which was used to form words meaning “confusion, stupefaction, dizziness” (cf. Greek typhlos “blind).
The word was pronounced to rhyme with reef until 18c. Deaf-mute is from 1837, after French sourd-muet. Deaf-mutes were sought after in 18c.-19c. Britain as fortune-tellers. Deaf as an adder (Old English) is from Psalms lviii:5.
- Partially or completely lacking in the sense of hearing.
- Deaf Of or relating to the Deaf or their culture.
- Deaf people considered as a group.
- Deaf The community of deaf people who use American Sign Language as a primary means of communication.
In addition to the idiom beginning with deaf
- deaf as a post
- fall on deaf ears
- stone deaf
- turn a deaf ear