Definition of shell shock in English:

shell shock


  • Psychological disturbance caused by prolonged exposure to active warfare, especially being under bombardment.

    Also called combat fatigue
    • ‘PTSD, once referred to as shell shock or battle fatigue, was first brought to public attention by war veterans, but it can result from any number of traumatic incidents.’
    • ‘What used to be broadly referred to as shell shock and is now termed post-traumatic stress disorder has typically been discussed in relation to its effects on male soldiers.’
    • ‘The files disclose that many of the men were suffering from shell shock and were not in a fit mental state to answer the charges put to them.’
    • ‘My grandmother was a nurse there in the Second World War when they were treating servicemen for burns and shell shock.’
    • ‘A manual in 1960 urged people to understand that breakdowns were no more manageable than shell shock or battle fatigue.’
    • ‘The only cure for shell shock was thought to be complete rest away from all the effects of war.’
    • ‘The psychological shock of seeing a man dead from combat is subtly different from seeing one dead from natural causes, a fact that led to the phenomenon called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or shell shock.’
    • ‘It used to be known as shell shock but it's just as relevant today as ever.’
    • ‘An estimated 80,000 British men suffered from shell shock, a form of mental breakdown, while others shot themselves in the hope they would be sent home from the front, or took their own lives to escape their situation.’
    • ‘Post-traumatic stress disorder - once known as shell shock - is sadly just as relevant as ever.’
    • ‘His discussion of the physical reaction of the body to extreme stress rests on a handful of books and memoirs, overlooking the wealth of literature on the related phenomenon of combat stress, war neurosis, and shell shock.’
    • ‘Appendix A is an interesting but rather detached precis of chemical warfare and shell shock.’
    • ‘It was recognised fully during the First World War - the first industrial war - under the name of shell shock or war neurosis.’
    • ‘She was diagnosed with a mild case of shell shock and was close to a complete nervous breakdown.’
    • ‘Was it a sign of madness brought on by shell shock and imprisonment and public disgrace, the way some scholars would like to see it?’
    • ‘It describes the diagnostic eras of shell shock, battle fatigue, and post-traumatic stress disorder in the particular political, cultural, and medical contexts of their time.’
    • ‘Early in World War I, the term shell shock emerged to describe the array of psychiatric symptoms soldiers manifested.’
    • ‘In the light of modern ideas about soldiery and a somewhat clearer understanding of shell shock, or post-traumatic stress disorder, most people have greeted the news with approval.’
    • ‘Then there was Milligan's wartime trauma, when he suffered flesh wounds and shell shock in north Africa and Italy.’
    • ‘Many were repeat deserters who showed no sign of shell shock.’


World War I: with reference to exposure to shellfire.


shell shock

/ˈSHel ˌSHäk/