shell shock


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

Polchin wonders if the men, many of whom were veterans of the First World War, were in shell shock—though an exact diagnosis now hardly matters. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, "The Theory That Justified Anti-Gay Crime," 20 June 2019 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.

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First Known Use of shell shock

1915, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of shell shock was in 1915

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More Definitions for shell shock

shell shock


Medical Definition of shell shock

More from Merriam-Webster on shell shock

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shell shock Encyclopedia article about shell shock

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to spread over or through

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