adjective, dim·mer, dim·mest.

  1. not bright; obscure from lack of light or emitted light: a dim room; a dim flashlight.
  2. not seen clearly or in detail; indistinct: a dim object in the distance.
  3. not clear to the mind; vague: a dim idea.
  4. not brilliant; dull in luster: a dim color.
  5. not clear or distinct to the senses; faint: a dim sound.
  6. not seeing clearly: eyes dim with tears.
  7. tending to be unfavorable; not likely to happen, succeed, be favorable, etc.: a dim chance of winning.
  8. not understanding clearly.
  9. rather stupid; dim-witted.

verb (used with object), dimmed, dim·ming.

  1. to make dim or dimmer.
  2. to switch (the headlights of a vehicle) from the high to the low beam.

verb (used without object), dimmed, dim·ming.

  1. to become or grow dim or dimmer.

Verb Phrases

  1. dim out, (in wartime) to reduce the night illumination of (a city, ship, etc.) to make it less visible from the air or sea, as a protection from enemy aircraft or ships.
  1. take a dim view of, to regard with disapproval, skepticism, or dismay: Her mother takes a dim view of her choice of friends.

  1. (in prescriptions) one-half.

  1. dimension.
  2. diminish.
  3. diminuendo.
  4. diminutive.

adjective dimmer or dimmest

  1. badly illuminateda dim room
  2. not clearly seen; indistinct; fainta dim shape
  3. having weak or indistinct visioneyes dim with tears
  4. lacking in understanding; mentally dull
  5. not clear in the mind; obscurea dim memory
  6. lacking in brilliance, brightness, or lustrea dim colour
  7. tending to be unfavourable; gloomy or disapproving (esp in the phrase take a dim view)

verb dims, dimming or dimmed

  1. to become or cause to become dim
  2. (tr) to cause to seem less bright, as by comparison
  3. US and Canadian (tr) to switch (car headlights) from the main to the lower beamAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): dip

Old English dimm “dark, gloomy, obscure,” from Proto-Germanic *dimbaz (cf. Old Norse dimmr, Old Frisian dim, Old High German timber “dark, black, somber”). Not known outside Germanic. Slang sense of “stupid” is from 1892. Related: Dimly; dimness.


c.1200, perhaps in Old English, from dim (adj.). Related: Dimmed; dimming.


  1. dimidius (half)

see take a dim view.

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