Definition: Deafness

From New World Encyclopedia


From Middle English deefnesse; equivalent to deaf (from Middle English deef, from Old English dēaf, from Proto-West Germanic *daub, from Proto-Germanic *daubaz, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰewbʰ- meaning “to whisk, smoke, darken, obscure”) + -ness.


deafness (countable and uncountable, plural deafnesses)

  1. The condition of being deaf; the lack or loss of the ability to hear.
  2. (figurative) Lack of knowledge or refusal to admit a particular problem, issue, etc.
    I did not appreciate the committee's deafness to our complaints.

Derived terms

  • inattentional deafness
  • peri-lingual deafness
  • post-lingual deafness
  • tone-deafness

Related terms

  • deaf
  • deafen


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