be·​numb | \ bi-ˈnəm How to pronounce benumb (audio) , bē- \
benumbed; benumbing; benumbs

Definition of benumb

transitive verb

1 : to make inactive : deaden
2 : to make numb especially by cold

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Synonyms & Antonyms for benumb



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Examples of benumb in a Sentence

a succession of personal tragedies had benumbed him to all grief
Recent Examples on the Web What’s destructive, and eventually benumbing, is the kitchen-sink clutter of fantasy, reality, wish-fulfillment and glib enchantment. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 24 Jan. 2019 But her core insight into how even mediocrities can be institutionally benumbed and conscripted into heinous projects remains fertile. George Prochnik, New York Times, 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'benumb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of benumb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for benumb

Middle English benomen, from benomen, past participle of benimen to deprive, from Old English beniman, from be- + niman to take — more at nimble

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Time Traveler for benumb

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The first known use of benumb was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Benumb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of benumb

: to make (someone) numb or unable to have emotions

More from Merriam-Webster on benumb

Nglish: Translation of benumb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of benumb for Arabic Speakers


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