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adjective close-lipped, closemouthed, dumb, hushed, inarticulate, incapable of speech, incommunicative, indisposed to talk, noiseless, pauciloquent, quiet, refraining from utterance, reserved, reticent, silent, soundless, speechless, still, taciturn, tight-lipped, tongue-tied, unable to speak, unable to utter articulate sound, uncommunicative, unexpressive, unloquacious, untalkative, unvocal, unvocalizing, voiceless, wordless
See also: inarticulate, moderate, repress, speechless, stifle, subdue, taciturn, unresponsive


a person arraigned on indictment who refuses to answer a charge.

MUTE, persons. One who is dumb. Vide Deaf and Dumb.

MUTE, STANDING MUTE, practice, crim. law. When a prisoner upon his arraignment totally refuses to answer, insists upon mere frivolous pretences, or refuses to put himself upon the country, after pleading not guilty, he is said to stand mute.
     2. In the case of the United States v. Hare, et al., Circuit Court, Maryland Dist. May sess. 1818, the prisoner standing mute was considered as if he had pleaded not guilty.
     3. The act of congress of March 3, 1825, 3 Story's L. U. S. 2002, has since provided as follows; Sec. 14, That if any person, upon his or her arraignment upon any indictment before any court of the United States for any offence, not capital, shall stand mute, or will not answer or plead to such indictment, the court shall, notwithstanding, proceed to the trial of the person, so standing mute, or refusing to answer or pleas, as if he or she had pleaded not guilty; and upon a verdict being returned by the jury, may proceed to render judgment accordingly. A similar provision is to be found in the laws of Pennsylvania.
     4. The barbarous punishment of peine forte et dure which till lately disgraced the criminal code of England, was never known in the United States. Vide Dumb; 15 Vin. Ab. 527.
     5. When a prisoner stands mute, the laws of England arrive at the forced conclusion that he is guilty, and punish him accordingly. 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 428.
     6. By the old French law, when a person accused was mute, or stood mute, it was the duty of the judge to appoint him a curator, whose duty it was to defend him, in the best manner he could; and for this purpose, he was allowed to communicate with him privately. Poth. Proced. Crim. s. 4, art. 2, Sec. 1.

References in periodicals archive ?
The deaf mute anti-hero of the original film is replaced by a morose, straggly-haired Nicolas Cage, whose opening voiceover monologue reveals, "The work's steady but it's not for everyone.
Brill, who was "a graduate from a Jewish Deaf Mute Institution in London.
A TRAGIC mother will speak from beyond the grave today when she talks on TV about her amazing love for her little deaf mute son.
Griffiths, now 60, was born in Thornaby near Stockton and grew up caring for his deaf mute parents.
One day my deaf mute dad handed me a note which he indicated he wanted me to take to the chemist.
Replacing the deaf mute antihero of the original movie, Cage explains at the beginning how "the work's steady but it's not for everyone.
Daqduq was captured in March 2007 and initially claimed he was a deaf mute.
The soldier evaded Gestapo troops, posed as a deaf mute in a Belgian meat factory for six months and narrowly avoided being arrested for being a suspected cigarette smuggler on the Spanish border.
Of course, "The Golden Egg" features that charming and erudite Venetian detective in a tale that begins with the death of a mentally challenged deaf mute who works in a tailor shop frequented by Brunetti's wife, Paola.
On this occasion, the sovereign visited the Al Quds multipurpose social center which is divided into seven departments: kids and youth in difficult situation, vocational training, women in difficult situation, abandoned disabled kids, autistic kids, deaf mute awareness raising, and the promotion of income-generating activities.
SUSPECT TCM 9PM As a homeless deaf mute accused of murder in Washington DC at Christmas, Liam Neeson served notice of his commanding screen presence.

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