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


blunt, cauterize, damp, dampen, deaden, dull, numb


sharpen, whet

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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, "‘The Kid Who Would Be King’ Review: Some Brief, Shining Moments," 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, "The Philosopher in Dark 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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Dictionary Entries near benumb






Ben Venue


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Time Traveler for benumb

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

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English Language Learners Definition of benumb

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on benumb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with benumb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for benumb

Spanish Central: Translation of benumb

Nglish: Translation of benumb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of benumb for Arabic Speakers

Comments on benumb

What made you want to look up benumb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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