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

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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

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The first known use of shell shock was in 1915

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Medical Definition of shell shock

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