- 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
- 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 desensitize
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.