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Definition of Mute

Mute: A mute is a person who does not speak, either from an inability to speak or an unwillingness to speak. The term "mute" is specifically applied to a person who, due to profound congenital (or early) deafness, is unable to use articulate language and so is deaf-mute. A mute in speech is a letter that is silent and also an element of speech formed by a position of the mouth which stops the passage of the breath, such as the letters p, b, d, k, and t. The word "mute" comes from the Latin "mutus" meaning unable to speak.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7869
Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013

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