1

numb

adjective \ ˈnəm \
|Updated on: 25 Jul 2018

Definition of numb

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.

numbly

play \ˈnəm-lē\ adverb

numbness

noun

Examples of numb in a Sentence

  1. The side of my face was still numb an hour after the surgery.

  2. I had a numb feeling in my toes.

  3. It was so cold that my fingers went numb.

  4. A stroke can cause one side of your body to go numb.

  5. Her son had died and she just felt numb.

  6. He stood there numb with fear.

Recent Examples of numb from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of numb

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


2

numb

verb

Definition of numb

numbed; numbing
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

First Known Use of numb

1561

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
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NUMB Defined for Kids

1

numb

adjective \ ˈnəm \

Definition of numb for Students

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

numbly

adverb
  • He nodded numbly.

numbness

noun

2

numb

verb

Definition of numb for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

numb

adjective \ ˈnəm \

medical Definition of numb

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

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 ChaseThe Wall Street Journal24 June 1996


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