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adj. numb·er, numb·est
1. Deprived of the power to feel or move normally; benumbed: toes numb with cold; too numb with fear to cry out.
2. Emotionally unresponsive; indifferent: numb to yet another appeal.
tr. & intr.v. numbed, numb·ing, numbs
To make or become numb.
[Middle English nome, variant of nomin, past participle of nimen, to seize, from Old English niman; see nem- in Indo-European roots.]
Word History: Old English had a number of strong verbs (often loosely called "irregular" verbs) that did not survive into Modern English. One such was the verb niman, "to take," later replaced by take, a borrowing from Old Norse. The verb had a past tense nam and a past participle numen; if the verb had survived, it would likely have become nim, nam, num, like swim, swam, swum. Although we do not have the verb as such anymore, its past participle is alive and well, now spelled numb, literally "taken, seized," as by cold or grief. (The older spelling without the b is still seen in the compound numskull.) The verb also lives on indirectly in the word nimble, which used to mean "quick to take," and then later "light, quick on one's feet."
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
causing numbness or insensibility; stupefying.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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|Adj.||1.||numbing - causing numbness or insensitivity; "the numbing effect of grief"|
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
1. freezing, biting, bitter, piercing, arctic, icy, glacial They huddled together against the numbing cold.
2. deadening, desensitizing We found that television viewing had a numbing effect on emotional states in our participants.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002