\ 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.


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


numbly \ ˈnəm-​lē How to pronounce numbly (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 When no such reprieve arrived, Green slumped onto his couch and flipped through TV channels, numb to the newscasters discussing the tragic details: the trip to a youth basketball tournament, the foggy conditions in Calabasas, the nine lives lost. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors enter Philadelphia game still grieving the late Kobe Bryant," 27 Jan. 2020 Everybody’s numb to it’ About three hours after the news conference, Kimball and South Oak Cliff resumed their basketball game behind closed doors at Forester Field House in Pleasant Grove. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, "Dallas ISD announces swift measures to improve safety after shooting at basketball game," 14 Jan. 2020 No judgment; using food to numb emotions is highly human behavior. Washington Post, "Better breakfasts, less takeout, more togetherness: Our 2020 food resolutions," 13 Jan. 2020 Best: Cheap Drinks Us Americans who live in big cities are numb to sticker shock. Kat Bein, Billboard, "The Best & Worst of ADE 2019, An International Gathering Of Electronic Music," 21 Oct. 2019 The boy asked to use the restroom and soon afterward was found on the floor saying his legs were numb. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Three Lincoln Hills nurses reprimanded for giving inadequate care to 14-year-old inmate," 9 Jan. 2020 Offstage After Facing Angry 'Q&A' Chants for Refusing to Take Questions at Book Event Many people have become numb to this Administration’s wrongdoing after almost three years of constant scandal. Time, "Why Trump's Defenses Against Impeachment Are Doomed to Fail," 11 Nov. 2019 Thomas Allard, Roseville 22,943,159,688,775 Americans have become numb to the figures like millions with six zeros, billions with nin zeros and now trillions with 12 zeros. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: St. Paul police shouldn’t ignore minor offenses," 30 Oct. 2019 The Osbourne family matriarch chatted with Kelly Clarkson for an episode of the artist's talk show on Tuesday and shared how her mouth went numb after a procedure and resembled Elvis. Rasha Ali, USA TODAY, "Sharon Osbourne says she 'looked like Elvis' after getting her face-lift," 23 Oct. 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1561, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for numb


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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Statistics for numb

Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Numb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/numb. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for numb

How to pronounce numb (audio)

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



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
\ 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.


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.
\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on numb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for numb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with numb

Spanish Central: Translation of numb

Nglish: Translation of numb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of numb for Arabic Speakers

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