"dumb" to describe people incapable of speech

Guest   Thu Nov 22, 2007 4:50 am GMT
To me at least, "dumb" to refer to people not able to speak just sounds weird and a bit offensive. I'd use "mute" to refer to those people. Is using "dumb" in this context more common in certain regions than others?
AJC   Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:26 pm GMT
It's more common where it *isn't* used to mean "stupid".
furrykef   Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:46 pm GMT
But does such a region exist?

I hear the phrase "deaf and dumb" from time to time, where the context makes it clear what is meant, but if you refer to somebody as just "dumb", the meaning of "stupid" suggests itself far more readily. So if somebody is dumb but not deaf, I would just say "mute".

- Kef
MRB   Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:26 pm GMT
In Britain "dumb" always means mute, not stupid. Brits don't call you dumb if you are stupid*. HOWEVER, it's not PC to use the term, despite its accuracy.

*They will, however, call you a wide variety of other things.