verb (used with object)

  1. to make deaf: The accident deafened him for life.
  2. to stun or overwhelm with noise: The pounding of the machines deafened us.
  3. deaden(def 3).
  4. Obsolete. to render (a sound) inaudible, especially by a louder sound.


  1. (tr) to make deaf, esp momentarily, as by a loud noise

1590s, “to make deaf,” from deaf + -en (1). The earlier verb was simply deaf (mid-15c.). For “to become deaf, to grow deaf,” Old English had adeafian (intransitive), which survived into Middle English as deave but then took on a transitive sense from mid-14c. and sank from use except in dialects (where it mostly has transitive and figurative senses), leaving English without an intransitive verb here.


  1. To make deaf, especially momentarily by a loud noise.
55 queries 0.569