Definition of dumb-bell noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈdʌm bel//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈdʌm bel//
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  1. 1a short bar with a weight at each end, used for making the arm and shoulder muscles stronger
  2. 2(North American English, informal) a stupid person
  3. Word Originearly 18th cent.: originally denoting an apparatus similar to that used to ring a church bell (but without the bell, so noiseless or “dumb”); sense (2) (dating from the 1920s) is an extended use by association with dumb ‘stupid’.