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numb

[nuhm]
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 numbly

Historical Examples of numbly

  • Numbly he recognized the countenances which were turned toward him.

    Beyond the Black River

    Robert E. Howard

  • Numbly the thought came to her of how long she had waited for this.

    Rich Man, Poor Man

    Maximilian Foster

  • Numbly they followed on—Dor and Jon and Jak and the two youngsters.

    The Forgotten Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • Her eyes vacant and numbly fixed, she rose slowly to her feet.

    The Wolf Cub

    Patrick Casey

  • A standby pattern lighted the screen, and I stared at it numbly.

    Backlash

    Winston Marks


British Dictionary definitions for numbly

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 for numb

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 numbly

numb

v.

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

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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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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

numbly 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.