Looking for a verb that would be the visual equivalent of mute as it would be used on an audio player. That is to say, the content is continuing to be played, but not being displayed on the device.

  • 1
    "Dark", I think. I'm imagining watching a YouTube clip on my computer; since I haven't touched the keyboard in a while the screen-saver kicks in and the screen goes dark, but the clip continues to play.
    – MT_Head
    Feb 5, 2013 at 22:40
  • But it's not dark if there is something else on the screen in its place.
    – Kaz
    Feb 6, 2013 at 3:02
  • The semantics of not seeing and not hearing is different. If you don't want to see something, you don't have to close your eyes. You can look away, or occlude it. If you don't want to hear, you have to plug your ears so that you don't hear anything, or squelch the source of the sound.
    – Kaz
    Feb 6, 2013 at 3:40
  • I agree with hide in the context of a video being played. Where you have the option to mute, you might also have the option to hide.
    – user37146
    Feb 6, 2013 at 3:45
  • 1
    Oh, the other "mute". I was almost going to answer "blind".
    – Izkata
    Feb 6, 2013 at 4:00

12 Answers 12


I would go with hide, if the context is content being played on a device.

  • "The video is hidden, but I can still hear the audio."
  • "The audio is muted, but I can still see the video."
  • 1
    This is the best answer, because to mute has the semantics of squelching the source, analogous to hiding something which is visible. When the playback or voice call is muted, the device can still make other sounds. When the video is hidden, other things are on the screen. I would also suggest disabled or suppressed, which has connotations that the video is not only hidden, but is not being decoded (if that is the case).
    – Kaz
    Feb 6, 2013 at 5:34
  • Maybe blank? You can still see the screen (so not hidden) but it shows nothing. Sort of like the earphone is still in your ear (not hidden), but you hear nothing. Sep 6, 2020 at 20:26

To blind (out) or blank (out) come to mind.

  • 1
    This. The dichotomy is sound/sight, not sound/visuals. You've correctly answered the question that should have been asked.
    – Robusto
    Feb 5, 2013 at 22:44
  • 3
    I'm not familiar with to blind in that sense, but to blank does it for me anyway. And the adjective blind contrasts with adjectival mute, so it's all good by me. Feb 5, 2013 at 22:59
  • I don't think a perfect analogy isn't possible because the effect is different (compare a silent film with Derek Jarman's Blue), but I think this is as close as one could get.
    – Jon Hanna
    Feb 6, 2013 at 0:16
  • 3
    blank: At work we use data projectors whose remote controls have a button marked "blank", which of course has got verbified, so we say, "I'll just blank the screen for a moment."
    – AndrewC
    Feb 6, 2013 at 1:10
  • 1
    At least in the US I think blank would be strongly preferred to blind.
    – starwed
    Feb 6, 2013 at 1:37

I would suggest black out.

  • The sound was muted and the visuals were blacked out.
  • "Black out" gives the image that the visual field is completely unrecognizable--almost "unconscious". This is different than being "muted". Feb 5, 2013 at 23:34

I guess it depends what you mean by "mute".

  • If it is mute as in "mute the TV"
    • the word you want is blank. (as has been mentioned) Blank in many contexts including video means "empty".
  • If is is mute as in "muted tones"
    • Then it is more likely you want something else. "Mute" works for visuals, as does subdue, desaturate, pale, darken, dilute.
  • If you were looking for Sound is to "trumpet mute"
    • Visuals is to ... moire filter? frosted glass ? :)
  • To kick a dead horse, most video display technologies dating back to the first commercial television describe the time between frames when the screen is not showing anything as the vertical blanking interval. If you're old enough to remember ever seeing an out of sync TV with a black bar rolling down the screen, that black bar was the vblank, and was supposed to be offscreen Sep 24, 2020 at 22:34

AV systems sometimes use the phrase "video mute" to describe this.


"Shroud" comes to my mind as the closest analogue to "mute" and it's an interesting verb. "Mask" is also logical.


I have seen the verb dim used for that purpose.

  • Isn’t that what @ugliest said?
    – tchrist
    Feb 11, 2013 at 23:45

Depends entirely on context and what is generating the visuals as "visuals" could cease in a variety of ways.

Are we talking about a pause, like on a vcr or tivo?

"The sounds muted and the picture froze" "The sounds muted and the visuals paused."

Was the visual stopped altogether? Suddenly or abruptly?

"The sounds muted and the visuals darkened." "The sounds muted and the visuals faded to black."

Etc etc


Something that cannot be seen temporarily is often said to be "masked", or indeed simply "hidden". Thus "mask" or "hide" may be reasonable options.


Dim or blank, perhaps? .


I suggest "black". I know it is not a verb, but the function you're describing is provided in a visual presentation management package I've used (called "EasyWorship"), and the toggle that controls this function is labeled this way. I found it very intuitive.


This is an interesting concept, but neuroscience tells us that we are continually "muting" our field of vision. Although almost a third of the neurons in the brain are devoted to vision,and over 80% of us are "visual" learners, we are blind to the world; we see, but are muted to all the particulars. A word that might best describe that is simply "unaware" or "unconscious".

Or what about "seeing non-colored-silence".

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