Definition of benumb in US English:



[with object]often as adjective benumbed
  • Deprive of physical or emotional feeling.

    ‘a hoarse shout cut through his benumbed senses’
    • ‘As Cameron speaks, at last the truth sinks into Tristan's benumbed brain.’
    • ‘The general reaction in the country has been benumbed indifference.’
    • ‘Some - but not all - of the 1946 drawings are uncharacteristically laconic and slightly benumbed.’
    • ‘The lights from the cars parked outside cut through the curtains and fall on Doug's exhausted, benumbed face.’
    • ‘Something has benumbed our consciousness against this reality.’
    • ‘I went about picking up mounds of dirt to drop into the pit, and my hands, already dirty with muck, became benumbed under the frigid air.’
    • ‘He knew not what his thoughts were - his mind was benumbed and seemed to shun reflection and take refuge in vacancy.’
    • ‘In a sense, since I still can't watch with ironic or benumbed remove, my fright speaks well of a film's potency.’
    • ‘Those macabre photographs that benumbed the civilised world were worth a million words each.’
    • ‘Sheree stood there benumbed by what just occurred and by the fact that despite her convictions, she had so little regrets, too.’
    • ‘Behind them trailed a small escort of equally benumbed guardsmen, every one with weapons, if not in hand, then at the ready.’
    • ‘Unsure whether to be relieved or paranoid, Karae unfolded her benumbed legs and lay back in the thick grass, dozing happily, taking full advantage of the calm state her meditation had bestowed on her.’
    • ‘My breath was stuck in my stomach, my limbs benumbed, my senses catapulted into a no-go area where terror meets exhilaration.’
    • ‘Sitting as close to the fire as possible, I tried to warm up my benumbed fingers.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the audience becomes so benumbed by the endless carnage that any emotional connection to the individual players is reduced to an insulting inconsequentiality.’
    • ‘Not until, hungered and benumbed by cold, I found the road I sought, did I open my clenched hand, there to reveal the new-minted roughness of the silver coin given me by my mother.’
    • ‘His hand left his weapon and trailed down his friend's benumbed arm.’
    • ‘These weeks, however, when we are gathered together benumbed and in need of each other are not the moments for critical analysis.’
    • ‘The result was me holding a patient's chart in two benumbed hands while burning with humiliation at the note attached to the front: ‘Patient has decided to change oncologists.’’
    • ‘So he stood at the bedside, gripping his father's arm, benumbed by the emotions his father was displaying, the emotions he himself was feeling.’
    deprived of sensation, without feeling, numbed, benumbed, dead, deadened, desensitized, insensible, insensate, senseless, unfeeling
    numb, unfeeling, insensible, stupefied, groggy, foggy, muzzy, fuzzy, vague, dazed, dizzy
    View synonyms


Late 15th century: from obsolete benome, past participle of benim ‘deprive’, from be- (expressing removal) + Old English niman ‘take’.