Chinese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Chinese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to translate "Using the knife on these types of surfaces will dull the knife." This I find to be difficult grammatically as well. However, I'm not sure how to say "dull" in Mandarin, and google doesn't provide much help.

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Dull (adjective) as in 'a dull knife' is in Mandarin. There is not a two-character version for it.

Dull (vt.) as in 'dull the knife' is 使..变钝, literally 'make .. become dull'.

Example of 钝 (adjective):

It's impossible to cut a pineapple with such a dull knife.


To translate your sentence, which is also an example of 使..变钝:

Using the knife on these types of surfaces will dull the knife.


Related words:

  • (Knife or blade) sharp (adjective): 快 or 锋利.

快 must be used in the same sentence as the noun (刀), otherwise it doesn't mean 'sharp'. 锋利 can be used standalone.

  • Sharpen the knife (V+O): 磨刀.

An example using all these words:


Knife becomes dull after some use. Burnish it and it will be sharp again.

share|improve this answer
You can certainly stick another character to front and make it two character, such as 粗钝. Of course, the core part is 钝. – user58955 Sep 26 '13 at 23:16
@user58955 Sure but 粗钝 is not a common word and can't replace 钝 in most circumstances. – NS.X. Sep 26 '13 at 23:20
not uncommon in 武侠小说 (kongfu novels) – user58955 Sep 26 '13 at 23:22
@user58955 Indeed. This answer is speaking in the context of OP's sentence:) – NS.X. Sep 26 '13 at 23:23
Actually, according to your translation, 变钝 is an acceptable word, literally "become dull". "在这些表面上用刀会使它变钝。" – congusbongus Sep 27 '13 at 2:02

You may say


pinyin: mo2 dun4 yi4 ba3 dau1


磨钝: make something dull.

一: a

把: classifier of knife.

刀: knife.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.