Meaning of DUMMY in English


I. ˈdəmē, -mi noun

( -es )

Etymology: dumb (I) + -y

1. : one that is dumb: as

a. : one that is incapable of speaking

b. : one that is habitually silent

c. : one that is stupid : dolt , dumbbell


a. : the exposed hand in bridge played by declarer in addition to his own hand

b. : a player in bridge who lays his cards face up on the table to be so played by declarer

3. : an imitation, copy, or likeness of something intended for use as a substitute : effigy: as


(1) : a form representing part or all of the human figure used for displaying or fitting clothes — compare lay figure

(2) : a stuffed figure representing the trunk and legs of a man and supported by a rope or frame that is used by football players for practice in tackling and blocking

(3) : a large puppet usually having movable head, jaws, and arms and held on the knees of a ventriloquist entertainer

b. : a sham package or one that does not contain what its exterior indicates ; especially : an empty package used for display

c. chiefly Britain : a false nipple : pacifier

4. : one (as a person, body of people, corporation) that although seeming to act for itself is in reality acting for another usually with little or no freedom of action or with fraudulent intent

the directors, being controlled by one man, are only dummies

if a woman appears as the owner of a business, it should be ascertained that she is not a dummy for the real owner … who for legal or other reasons may not be able to hold property — A.F.Chapin


a. : a block (as of wood) put on a library shelf to replace a missing book and marked with title, call number, and indication of the book's whereabouts

b. : a card in a file or catalog indicating location of material filed elsewhere or temporarily missing from the file

6. : something usually mechanically operated that serves to replace or aid a human being in the performance of a task: as

a. : dumbwaiter

b. : a glassblower's device operated by foot pedals for wetting, raising, opening, and shutting a paste mold

c. : a device having lights on four sides placed at a street intersection to control traffic

7. : one that plays a part (as in a play) intended merely to fill in (as a group or scene) or fulfill an expectation and having no essential significance

8. : a piece that serves as a model in a profiling machine

9. : drift plug


a. : a pattern volume (as of book, magazine, or newspaper) projected or in process with blank pages or pasted-in examples of type or illustrative material

b. : layout


a. : an early comparatively quiet locomotive made with condensing engines and no blast pipe and sometimes used in city transit service

b. : a switching locomotive having the boiler and running gear entirely housed

12. : a horse lacking the ability to respond to ordinary stimuli because of cerebral damage especially following encephalomyelitis

II. adjective

1. : marked by sham or deception: as

a. : having the appearance of being real but lacking capacity to function : artificial

dummy foods in the shop windows — Times Literary Supplement

dummy hinges

b. : existing in name only : fictitious

a specialist in secretly buying up the stock of companies under dummy names — Newsweek

pack the ballot with dummy candidates to split the vote — New Republic

2. : having the appearance of acting independently or for oneself while really acting at the instruction of another

issued patents for sixty thousand acres to dummy holders, who deeded the land to him after he had retired from office — V.L.Parrington

III. verb

( -ed/-ing/-es )

transitive verb

1. Australia : to take up (land) for another in one's own name

2. : to make a dummy of (as a book or page of a publication)

the book was dummied and ready to go to press

— often used with up

the editor is now dummying up the editorial page

intransitive verb

1. Australia : to dummy land

2. slang : to refuse to talk — used with up

when I mentioned his name they dummied up

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.