adj. deaf·er, deaf·est
1. Partially or completely lacking in the sense of hearing.
2. often Deaf Of or relating to the Deaf or their culture.
3. Unwilling or refusing to listen; heedless: was deaf to our objections.
n. (used with a pl. verb)
1. Deaf people considered as a group. Used with the.
2. often Deaf The community of deaf people who use American Sign Language as a primary means of communication. Used with the.
[Middle English def, deef, from Old English dēaf.]
Usage Note: The rise of the Deaf Pride movement in the 1980s introduced a distinction between deaf and Deaf, with the capitalized form used specifically in referring to deaf persons belonging to the community—also known as Deaf culture—that has formed around the use of American Sign Language as the preferred means of communication.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.