Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make numb, especially by cold.
  • transitive v. To make inactive; dull: "The anesthetic afternoon benumbs, sickens our senses” ( Karl Shapiro). See Synonyms at daze.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make numb, as by cold or anesthetic.
  • v. To deaden.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make torpid; to deprive of sensation or sensibility; to stupefy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Benumbed.
  • To make torpid; deprive of sensation: as, a hand or foot benumbed by cold.
  • To stupefy; render inactive.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make numb or insensitive

Etymologies

Middle English binomen, from past participle of binimen, to take away, from Old English beniman : be-, away; see be- + niman, to take; see numb.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
be- +‎ numb (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • By my dictionary definition, to stupefy means to "overwhelm with amazement, astound, astonish"; "to stun, as with strong emotions, to benumb the faculties of as in 'put in to a stupor'."

    Karen Kisslinger: Ba(ra)ck to the Word "Stupid"

  • When I felt that cursed wheel pass across my breast, when I felt the pistol-ball benumb my arm, I felt no more agitation than at the bounce of a champagne-cork.

    Saint Ronan's Well

  • Wonderful power to benumb possesses this brother. —

    Red Pottage

  • This swift comparison between his present condition and the aims he had in view helped to benumb his faculties.

    Father Goriot

  • These have a narcotic ( "to benumb" G), or analgesic ( "no pain" G), effect and are not scorned even in modern medical practice.

    The Human Brain

  • But there were so many chances against them in all these cases, such as storms, to overset and founder them; rains and cold, to benumb and perish their limbs; contrary winds, to keep them out and starve them; that it must have been next to miraculous if they had escaped.

    The Further Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe

  • Often the man will be free, while the woman and the dog side by side drag the cart to which they are tied, the woman usually knitting even when the air is cold enough to benumb her fingers.

    In and Around Berlin

  • A wave of cold fear seemed to benumb his tongue and brain.

    The Air Ship Boys : Or, the Quest of the Aztec Treasure

  • She drank with her heart and eyes the poison these passionate words contained; she allowed herself to be swayed at will by these melodies which lulled but did not benumb.

    The French Immortals Series — Complete

  • They had power to benumb every decent feeling in me.

    Blue Aloes Stories of South Africa

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