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.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make numb.


  1. deprived of feeling through cold, shock, etc
  2. unable to move; paralysed
  3. characteristic of or resembling numbnessa numb sensation

verb (tr)

  1. to make numb; deaden, shock, or paralyse

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.


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


  1. Being unable or only partially able to feel sensation or pain; deadened or anesthetized.
  2. Being emotionally unresponsive; indifferent.


  1. To make or become numb.
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