- to lessen the sensitiveness of.
- to make indifferent, unaware, or the like, in feeling.
- Photography. to make less sensitive or wholly insensitive to light, as the emulsion on a film.
- Printing. to treat (the design on a lithographic plate) with an etch in order to increase the capacity to retain moisture, and to remove traces of grease.
- Chemistry. to reduce the sensitivity of (an explosive) to those stimuli capable of detonating it.
Also especially British, de·sen·si·tise.
Origin of desensitize
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for desensitized
Perhaps they were wary of each other, or too desensitized to connect on any level.For the Cleveland Kidnapping Victims, a Tragic Sisterhood
May 10, 2013
In the border region, “drug trafficking is such a normal activity that people are so desensitized to it,” he said.At Mexican Border, Four in Five Drug Busts Involve American Citizens
Andrew Becker, G. W. Schulz, Tia Ghose
March 26, 2013
But some do wonder if popular culture has desensitized people to the very real consequences of violence.After Batman Shooting, Hollywood Looks Within
July 22, 2012
To me, these are just a bunch of pictures taken by desensitized soldiers screwing around.My Father’s War Pictures, and Mine
April 20, 2012
How do we take people who are jaded, desensitized, and make them care about crime?America's Favorite Crime Writer
Daily Beast Promotions
May 26, 2009
His impressions are transferred to the desensitized plate of Mr. Hennessy's mind, where they can do no harm.Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War
Finley Peter Dunne
Her desensitized and asphalt palate thrills and throbs beneath the tricklings of Cordon Rouge.Europe After 8:15
H. L. Mencken, George Jean Nathan and Willard Huntington Wright
- to render insensitive or less sensitivethe patient was desensitized to the allergen; to desensitize photographic film
- psychol to decrease the abnormal fear in (a person) of a situation or object, by exposing him to it either in reality or in his imagination
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for desensitized
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To render insensitive or less sensitive, as a nerve or tooth.
- To make an individual nonreactive or insensitive to an antigen.
- To make a person emotionally insensitive or unresponsive, as by long exposure or repeated shocks.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.