shell shock

noun

Definition of shell shock

: post-traumatic stress disorder occurring under wartime conditions (as combat) that cause intense stress : battle fatigue, combat fatigue In the receiving ward he found a patient shivering on his bunk with a diagnosis—in this case accurate—of severe shell shock.— Albert E. Cowdrey A Veterans Administration psychiatrist, Dr. Jack Ewald, has reckoned that some 700,000 Vietnam veterans have suffered from various forms of "post-traumatic stress syndrome," the modern term for what was called "shell shock" in World War I and "battle fatigue" in World War II.— Stanley Karnow

Examples of shell shock in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There is a sense of shell shock, likely some residual effects of PTSD. John P. Darcy, Vogue, "The Year We Left New York," 27 Dec. 2018 Also on the front lines are Hortense’s two sons, Constant (Nicolas Giraud), a schoolteacher, and Georges (Cyril Descours), a dandyish type who, like the other men, is battling shell shock. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, "'The Guardians' beautifully portrays the dynamics of a family farm in WWI France," 18 May 2018

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

First Known Use of shell shock

1915, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shell shock

Share shell shock

Statistics for shell shock

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shell shock

The first known use of shell shock was in 1915

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shell shock

shell shock

noun

Medical Definition of shell shock

More from Merriam-Webster on shell shock

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shell shock

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about shell shock

Comments on shell shock

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

WORD OF THE DAY

grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
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!