numb

adjective
\ ˈnəm \

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

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Other words from numb

Adjective

numbly \ˈnəm-lē \ adverb
numbness noun

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

Some children will internalize their feelings and appear numb; others will respond by acting out. Dylan Gee, Vox, "I study kids who were separated from their parents. The trauma could change their brains forever.," 20 June 2018 Ever since the 77-year-old musher lost a toe to frostbite on the Iditarod trail and froze several others, leaving them perpetually white and numb, his feet are quick to callus. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "The Iditarod gave this musher broken bones and frostbitten toes. At 77, he’s not ready to stop racing.," 5 Mar. 2018 Williams remembers losing vision in his left eye for about 30 seconds as that whole side of his body went numb. Jesse Dougherty, chicagotribune.com, "Former Alabama player Les Williams is one of more than 100 suing NCAA over brain injuries," 3 July 2018 Kelly suffered a major stroke — usually when a clot blocks blood flow to part of the brain — while eating lunch on the job one day last year and the right side of her body went numb, beginning with her fingers. Meredith Cohn, baltimoresun.com, "More patients could survive — and even thrive after — major strokes under new guidelines," 1 June 2018 Over time, your extremities go numb, which indicates the beginning of frostbite. Brad Stulberg, Outside Online, "What Happens to Your Body When You Climb Everest," 11 June 2018 After weeks of watching stocks gyrate on rising and falling trade tensions, investors may be growing dangerously numb to trade fears. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "How to Navigate the Tumult on Trade," 23 May 2018 Finn woke the next morning, groggy and numb, barely aware that something was happening around him. John L’heureux, The New Yorker, "The Long Black Line," 14 May 2018 The air was frigid, and my legs went slightly numb. Sunset, "How to Take a Stunning Yosemite Road Trip by Motorcycle," 22 Jan. 2018

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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Learn More about numb

Dictionary Entries near numb

nul tort

num

Num

numb

numbat

number

number agreement

Statistics for numb

Last Updated

5 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for numb

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

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More Definitions for numb

numb

adjective
\ ˈnəm \

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.
numbness noun

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 \

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

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