mute

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mute / myoōt/ • adj. 1. refraining from speech or temporarily speechless: Irene, the talkative one, was now mute. ∎  not expressed in speech: she gazed at him in mute appeal. ∎  characterized by an absence of sound; quiet: the great church was mute and dark. ∎ dated, chiefly offens. (of a person) without the power of speech. 2. (of a letter) not pronounced: mute e is generally dropped before suffixes beginning with a vowel. • n. 1. date, usu. offens. a person without the power of speech. ∎ hist. (in some Asian countries) a servant who was deprived of the power of speech. ∎  hist. an actor in a dumbshow. ∎ hist. a professional attendant or mourner at a funeral. 2. a device that softens the sound (and typically alters the tone) of a musical instrument, in particular: ∎  a clamp placed over the bridge of a stringed instrument to deaden the resonance without affecting the vibration of the strings. ∎  a pad or cone placed in the opening of a brass or other wind instrument. 3. a device on a television, telephone, or other appliance that temporarily turns off the sound: she put the remote on mute. • v. [tr.] 1. (often be muted) deaden, muffle, or soften the sound of: her footsteps were muted by the thick carpet. ∎  muffle the sound of (a musical instrument), esp. by the use of a mute. ∎ fig. reduce the strength or intensity of: his professional contentment was muted by personal sadness. 2. turn off (the sound on a television, telephone, or other appliance) by activating the mute: he turns the set on, mutes the sound, but flicks through the channels. DERIVATIVES: mute·ly adv. mute·ness n.

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mute. A mechanical device used to reduce the tonal vol. of an instr. and usually indicated by the term con sordini. (1) In bowed instr. a small clamp to be placed on the bridge. (2) In brass instr. a pear-shaped stopper to be pushed into the bell or, in the case of the hn., putting the hand in the bell. It is impossible to mute woodwind instr. (3) With the kettledrums muting was formerly effected by placing a cloth over the parchment heads but it is usual now to employ sponge-headed drumsticks instead. (4) In the pf. the sound is muted by the left (soft) pedal. The mute should not be confused with the damper.

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mute silent, dumb. XIV. Early forms also mewet, muwet; — (O)F. muet, dim. formation on OF. mu :- L. mūtus, f. symbolic syll. *mu as in Gr. múndos, mukós, Skr. mū́ka- dumb, Arm. munj, and MUTTER. The form became permanently assim. to L. XVI.
Hence vb. XIX.

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Mute

pack of houndsBk. of St. Albans, 1486.

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