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See also: NUMB
From the past participle of nim (“to take”). Compare German benommen (“dazed, numb”). The final ⟨b⟩ is a later addition to the spelling; it was never pronounced, and did not appear in the original word.
- Physically unable to feel, not having the power of sensation.
- Emotionally unable to feel or respond in a normal way.
- numb with shock; numb with boredom
- 1915, Nellie McClung, chapter 2, in In Times Like These, Toronto: McLeod & Allen:
- […] when we know that hundreds are rendered homeless every day, and countless thousands are killed and wounded, men and boys mowed down like a field of grain, and with as little compunction, we grow a little bit numb to human misery.
- Synonym: stunned
- (obsolete) Causing numbness.
- c. 1593 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i]:
- […] he did lap me
Even in his own garments, and gave himself,
All thin and naked to the numb cold night.
physically unable to feel
emotionally unable to feel
- (transitive) To cause to become numb (physically or emotionally).
- Synonym: benumb
- The dentist gave me novocaine to numb my tooth before drilling, thank goodness.
- When I first heard the news, I was numbed by the shock.
- 2020 April 22, “Letters: Open Access: Not easy for laptops”, in Rail, page 31:
- But her main concern is the hard seating that numbs the nether regions.
- (transitive) To cause (a feeling) to be less intense.
- Synonym: dull
- He turned to alcohol to numb his pain.
- (transitive) To cause (the mind, faculties, etc.) to be less acute.
- Synonym: dull
- (intransitive) To become numb (especially physically).
to cause to become numb
to cause (a feeling) to be less intense