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numb

[nuhm]
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adjective, numb·er, numb·est.
  1. deprived of physical sensation or the ability to move: fingers numb with cold.
  2. manifesting or resembling numbness: a numb sensation.
  3. incapable of action or of feeling emotion; enervated; prostrate: numb with grief.
  4. lacking or deficient in emotion or feeling; indifferent: She was numb to their pleas for mercy.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make numb.
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Origin of numb

1400–50; late Middle English nome literally, taken, seized, variant of nomen, numen, Old English numen, past participle of niman to take, nim1
Related formsnumb·ly, adverbnumb·ness, nounhalf-numb, adjectiveun·numbed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for numb

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Here the pang suddenly struck her; she was not so numb, after all!

    Malbone

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • The book in which he did so is not named in the chapter just quoted, but in Numb.

  • I raised my chin from my hands, and found that I was cold, numb, and stiff.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • My brain was numb, but I did my best to confront the new situation that was before me.

  • I leaned against the balustrade all numb, watching them depart.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini


British Dictionary definitions for numb

numb

adjective
  1. deprived of feeling through cold, shock, etc
  2. unable to move; paralysed
  3. characteristic of or resembling numbnessa numb sensation
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verb (tr)
  1. to make numb; deaden, shock, or paralyse
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Derived Formsnumbly, adverbnumbness, noun

Word Origin

C15: nomen, literally: taken (with paralysis), from Old English niman to take; related to Old Norse nema, Old High German niman
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 numb

adj.

c.1400, nome, "deprived of motion or feeling," literally "taken, seized," from past participle of nimen "to take, seize," from Old English niman "to take, catch, grasp" (see nimble). The extraneous -b (to conform to comb, limb, etc.) appeared 17c. The notion is of being "taken" with palsy, shock, and especially cold. Figurative use from 1560s.

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v.

1550s, from numb (adj.). Related: Numbed; numbing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

numb in Medicine

numb

(nŭm)
adj.
  1. Being unable or only partially able to feel sensation or pain; deadened or anesthetized.
  2. Being emotionally unresponsive; indifferent.
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v.
  1. To make or become numb.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.