\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from numb

Adjective

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for numb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Meanwhile, frozen skiers and snowboarders disembark from the lift complaining about numb fingers and toes. Rachel Walker, The Know, "Once fringe, “uphill skiing” is now one of the fastest-growing winter sports," 4 Nov. 2019 Like so many who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, Dale felt numb. NBC News, "How this police department is fighting for its officers' mental health after suicides," 10 Sep. 2019 The Raiders had just reported to training camp in Napa last summer, when running back DeAndre Washington received a phone call that made his body go numb. Jenny Vrentas, SI.com, "It’s the Heart of the NFL Offseason, and Anthony Lynn Is Making the Most of It," 8 July 2019 Some children and teens may become angry, and others may feel numb. Cindy Krischer Goodman, sun-sentinel.com, "Helping children make sense of mass shootings," 5 Aug. 2019 And, sadly, too much of the nation has grown numb to the president’s outrageous comments and conduct, including that detailed in the special prosecutor’s 448-page report released to the public more than three months ago. Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, The Mercury News, "Editorial: Mueller testimony won’t move the needle for Democrats," 24 July 2019 Republicans also think that the public has grown numb to controversies coming from the White House. CBS News, "Trump's 2020 campaign weapon: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and "the Squad"," 16 July 2019 The film is a document of visually beautiful, numb boredom. Rj Smith, Los Angeles Times, "Robert Frank appreciation: Why his greatness went beyond ‘The Americans’," 12 Sep. 2019 Nigel’s head was still numb from meetings with investors and partners who held the fate of the company in their hands. Albert Chen, SI.com, "Billion Dollar Fantasy: Inside the War Between FanDuel and DraftKings that Rocked the Gambling Industry," 10 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about numb

Time Traveler for numb

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for numb

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Numb.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/numbs. Accessed 21 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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
\ 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.
\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on numb

What made you want to look up numb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!