numb

adjective
\ ˈnəm How to pronounce numb (audio) \

Definition of numb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : unable to feel anything in a particular part of your body especially as a result of cold or anesthesia It was so cold that my fingers went numb.
2 : unable to think, feel, or react normally because of something that shocks or upsets you : indifferent He stood there numb with fear.

numb

verb
numbed; numbing

Definition of numb (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make (someone or something) numb: such as
a : to cause (a part of the body) to lose sensation hands numbed by the cold The injection will numb the area to be operated on.
b : to impair in force or sensation : deaden trying to numb the pain
c : to make (someone) unable to think, feel, or react normally But there is no humor in Natural Born Killers. It is a relentlessly bloody story designed to shock us and to numb us further to the senselessness of reckless murder.— Michael Shnayerson In her last book, Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag disputes the notion that viewers are numbed by an onslaught of photographed calamities.— Dennis Lim But Madame Melmotte was neither crushed by grief nor did she affect to be so crushed. She had been numbed by the suddenness and by the awe of the catastrophe.— Anthony Trolloppe

Other Words from numb

Adjective

numbly \ ˈnəm-​lē How to pronounce numb (audio) \ adverb
numbness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for numb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of numb in a Sentence

Adjective The side of my face was still numb an hour after the surgery. I had a numb feeling in my toes. It was so cold that my fingers went numb. A stroke can cause one side of your body to go numb. Her son had died and she just felt numb. He stood there numb with fear.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Someone suffering from frostbite can be unaware of it because tissues that become frozen are numb, the CDC said. Emily Shapiro, ABC News, 11 Jan. 2022 Rather than having to dice and slice veggies when your hands are still numb from outside, a frozen soup will be ready to eat (and heat you up) after just a quick spin in the microwave. Audrey Bruno, SELF, 29 Dec. 2021 Americans seem to have become numb to this scale of loss. Celine Gounder, The Atlantic, 16 Dec. 2021 His numb fingers clumsily plucked berries off twigs. Priscella Vega, oregonlive, 26 Nov. 2021 His numb fingers clumsily plucked berries off twigs. Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2021 This is tricky because so much of the market seems to be numb to the utterly obvious, so that actions need to be strategic, rather than acute, to ride over the noise and inertia of market trading under the anesthetic of free money. Clem Chambers, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2021 The questionnaire is numb to the experience of new mothers, incapable of theorizing their inner lives with any nuance or flair. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 28 Oct. 2021 As a result of his wounds, Dole was permanently left without feeling in his right hand and arm, which measured more than two inches shorter than his left after reparative surgeries; part of his left hand was also left numb. Jamie Ducharme, Time, 5 Dec. 2021

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

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First Known Use of numb

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1561, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for numb

Adjective

Middle English nomen, from past participle of nimen to take — more at nim

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Time Traveler for numb

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near numb

Num

numb

numbat

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Statistics for numb

Last Updated

20 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Numb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/numb. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for numb

numb

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of numb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: unable to feel anything in a particular part of your body because of cold, injury, etc.
: unable to think, feel, or react normally because of something that shocks or upsets you

numb

verb

English Language Learners Definition of numb (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (a part of the body) to be unable to feel anything
: to make (someone) unable to think, feel, or react normally

numb

adjective
\ ˈnəm How to pronounce numb (audio) \

Kids Definition of numb

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : unable to feel anything especially because of cold My toes are numb.
2 : unable to think, feel, or react normally (as because of great fear, surprise, or sadness) For the first few days after she left, I felt numb— Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons

Other Words from numb

numbly adverb He nodded numbly.

numb

verb
numbed; numbing

Kids Definition of numb (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make or become unable to feel pain or touch The cold numbed my face.

numb

adjective
\ ˈnəm How to pronounce numb (audio) \

Medical Definition of numb

: devoid of sensation (as from the administration of anesthesia or exposure to cold)

Other Words from numb

numb transitive verb
Arm or leg surgery, even total hip replacements, now can be performed with regional anesthesia, which numbs only the area being operated upon. — Marilyn Chase, The Wall Street Journal, 24 June 1996

More from Merriam-Webster on numb

Nglish: Translation of numb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of numb for Arabic Speakers

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