mute

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mute

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

mute

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 classic literature ?
But how could you charge a Nubian to purchase a house, and a mute to furnish it?
The poor child had sat in mute amazement, and patiently imitated everything her teacher did; but now the truth began to flash upon her: her intellect began to work: she perceived that here was a way by which she could herself make up a sign of anything that was in her own mind, and show it to another mind; and at once her countenance lighted up with a human expression: it was no longer a dog, or parrot: it was an immortal spirit, eagerly seizing upon a new link of union with other spirits
As when of old som Orator renound In ATHENS or free ROME, where Eloquence Flourishd, since mute, to som great cause addrest, Stood in himself collected, while each part, Motion, each act won audience ere the tongue, Somtimes in highth began, as no delay Of Preface brooking through his Zeal of Right.
A Syllable is a non-significant sound, composed of a mute and a vowel: for GR without A is a syllable, as also with A,--GRA.
A written examination attests it," said the cardinal, replying aloud to the mute interrogation of his Majesty; "and the ill- treated people have drawn up the following, which I have the honor to present to your Majesty.
Still, they saw no hesitation in each other's faces, and they nod- ded a mute and unprotesting assent when a shag- gy man near them said in a meek voice: "We'll git swallowed.
D'Artagnan stood for an instant, mute, pensive and motionless; then, as he went in, he saw the fair Madeleine, his hostess, standing on the threshold.
These words had much power, for they rendered mute and attentive all the royal personages, who, with very various sentiments, set about recomposing at the same time the mysteries which the young had not seen, and which the old had believed to be forever effaced.
On the morning appointed for her departure Tess was awake before dawn--at the marginal minute of the dark when the grove is still mute, save for one prophetic bird who sings with a clear-voiced conviction that he at least knows the correct time of day, the rest preserving silence as if equally convinced that he is mistaken.
They lunched slowly and meditatively, with mute intervals between rushes of talk; for, the spell once broken, they had much to say, and yet moments when saying became the mere accompaniment to long duologues of silence.
Philip could think of nothing to say; Foinet was mute, and the silence got on his nerves.
And then in a flash it came to him--the man was a mute, possibly a deaf mute.