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benumb

[bih-nuhm]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make numb; deprive of sensation: benumbed by cold.
  2. to render inactive; deaden or stupefy.
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Origin of benumb

1350–1400; back formation from Middle English benomen, past participle of benimen to take away, Old English beniman; cognate with Dutch benemen, German benehmen, Gothic biniman. See be-, nimble, numb
Related formsbe·numbed·ness [bih-nuhmd-nis, -nuhm-id-] /bɪˈnʌmd nɪs, -ˈnʌm ɪd-/, nounbe·numb·ing·ly, adverbbe·numb·ment, nounun·be·numbed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

numbbluntcumberdazestupefydeadenstunchillhebetate

Examples from the Web for benumb

Historical Examples

  • He was strangely reticent; my news seemed to benumb and sicken him.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • In these baths he can benumb the torment of the body with which he is encumbered.

  • The effect of this announcement was to benumb his faculties.

  • Slavery seems to benumb all the faculties except the passions.

  • How intense must have been the suffering that could so benumb the heart!

    The Allen House

    T. S. Arthur


British Dictionary definitions for benumb

benumb

verb (tr)
  1. to make numb or powerless; deaden physical feeling in, as by cold
  2. (usually passive) to make inactive; stupefy (the mind, senses, will, etc)
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Derived Formsbenumbingly, adverb
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 benumb

v.

late 15c., from be- + numb. Originally of mental states; of the physical body from 1520s. Related: Benumbed; benumbing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper