\ ˈshel-ˌshäkt How to pronounce shell-shocked (audio) \

Definition of shell-shocked

1 : affected with shell shock or combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder She sometimes had psychoneurotic cases on board, shell-shocked men whose behavior could not be predicted.— Doris Weatherford Sassoon was familiar with such rough-and-ready treatment, part of which encouraged shell-shocked soldiers to repress their memories of the trenches, shake themselves out of their depression, and carry on manfully.— Roger J. Spiller
2 : mentally confused, upset, or exhausted as a result of a highly stressful or disturbing and often unexpected event or experience She was shell-shocked, reeling from her loss in Iowa and polls that showed her cratering in New Hampshire.— Joe Klein shell-shocked consumers were pledging their allegiance to the "New Frugality." Chastened by the brutal lessons of the worst economic downturn in decades, Americans swore off conspicuous consumption and resolved to embrace the thrifty ways of their grandparents …— Stefan Theil

Synonyms for shell-shocked


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First Known Use of shell-shocked

1915, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of shell-shocked was in 1915

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Dictionary Entries Near shell-shocked

shell shock


shell socket

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Cite this Entry

“Shell-shocked.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of shell-shocked

: affected with battle fatigue
: very confused, upset, or exhausted because of something that has happened : very shocked


\ ˈshel-ˌshäkt How to pronounce shell-shocked (audio) \

Medical Definition of shell-shocked

: affected with combat fatigue


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