Go bald/deaf/dumb

  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    Strangely, 'go dumb' sounds peculiar, perhaps because it is not a very common occurrence (unlike going deaf/bald). People tend to be born dumb rather than to 'go' dumb. I think I'd use 'became dumb' if somebody did develop dumbness for some reason (such as after an accident/stroke).
     

    Wandering JJ

    Senior Member
    British English
    I suppose you could say that, but "become" is more usual, probably because you don't gradually "go dumb" but possibly some accident - physical or emotional - causes it. To go bald/deaf are usually gradual processes.
     

    levmac

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi everyone...


    I know that I can say "go bald/deaf" (quedarse calvo/sordo), but, could I say "go dumb" too? (quedarse mudo)


    Thanks in advance?
    You can definitely say it, but it sounds a little strange. I think in everyday English, we would avoid it, not least because dumb has come to mean tonto. I would say "He stopped speaking" or "he never spoke again".
     

    Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    By the way, the dumb/tonto question is not a problem in Brit Eng – we rarely use 'dumb' in this way unless it's a deliberate Americanism. I see 'levmac' disagrees. I still think it's OK to say 'dumb' for unable to talk in GB.
     

    Wandering JJ

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, Chez, in BrE "dumb" generally means "unable/unwilling to speak". We of course recognise the North American usage meaning "stupid" in phrases like "dumb blonde, dumb question".
     
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