phantom limb


: an often painful sensation of the presence of a limb that has been amputated

called also phantom pain

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Life in a diaspora can have the dull ache of a phantom limb. Longreads, 12 Dec. 2022 An estimated 80% of whom experience some form of phantom limb pain, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Dallas News, 4 Dec. 2022 The Phantoms Sixteenth century surgeon Ambrose Paré first described phantom limb pain. Iris Kulbatski, Discover Magazine, 30 Oct. 2020 Students are not the only ones who have come to see devices as a sort of reliable phantom limb. WIRED, 9 Sep. 2022 The study’s authors suggest that the device could be implanted in people during a surgery that already involves a specific nerve, such as an amputation, which often results in an excruciating condition called phantom limb pain. Stephani Sutherland, Scientific American, 1 July 2022 Running easily is like my phantom limb—its ghost haunts me and itches in my brain. Outside Online, 20 June 2022 Often what happens is the worst of both worlds: Their presence weirdly endures in the form of immense physical and emotional anguish, impossible to ignore, like a kind of phantom limb. Washington Post, 11 Mar. 2022 The trouble is that Mainline Protestantism is more like a phantom limb than a budding branch. Samuel Goldman, The Week, 16 July 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phantom limb.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1871, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phantom limb was in 1871

Dictionary Entries Near phantom limb

Cite this Entry

“Phantom limb.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Medical Definition

phantom limb

: an often painful sensation of the presence of a limb that has been amputated

called also phantom pain, phantom sensations

More from Merriam-Webster on phantom limb

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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