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

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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 After countless attacks on Asians since the coronavirus pandemic started, Hao Huang worried that the community would be left numb. Washington Post, "One of the bloodiest anti-Asian massacres in U.S. history, now a podcast," 12 Apr. 2021 Speaking with Talib Kweli and Jasmin Leigh on the People’s Party podcast last year, Simmons recalled childhood memories of waking up struggling to breathe, gripping the corners of his bed, and gasping so much that his tongue went numb. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Fierce Vulnerability of DMX," 9 Apr. 2021 Curiously numb at the sight of her ex wrapped around her old boss like the most tenacious of invasive species, Daisy slammed a quarter into the disposable menstrual product dispenser. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "'The Dating Plan' Is Our April Book Club Pick," 29 Mar. 2021 But there's too much play in the numb steering, which not only dulls the Trailhawk's responses when cornering but also necessitates an annoying amount of course correction when traveling straight. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport vs. Jeep Cherokee vs. Mazda CX-5," 11 Mar. 2021 Shoving chilly hands into coat pockets may have worked just fine in winters past, but numb fingers make navigating a fork and knife all the more difficult. Rachel Besser, Vogue, "For Outdoor Dining or Nature Walks, the Best Winter Gloves," 21 Feb. 2021 Longtime activist Philip Pannell, who chairs the Anacostia Coordinating Council, told the group that too many people have become numb to violence and that new voices need to be pulled into the conversation to help find solutions. Washington Post, "Ward 8 residents grapple with solutions for rising violence," 13 Apr. 2021 Now in her 11th day without food, Iman Saleh is numb to the hunger. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit activists lead hunger strike in DC to end US-backed blockade on Yemen," 8 Apr. 2021 When John awoke, tubes were draining fluid from his chest, which was numb. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "‘You’re not supposed to be here’," 7 Apr. 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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Statistics for numb

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Numb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/numb. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on numb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for numb

Nglish: Translation of numb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of numb for Arabic Speakers

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