Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To make less intense; dull or deaden.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To dull; blunt; quell; deaden; reduce the pungency or violent action of anything.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb Archaic To reduce the edge, pungency, or violent action of; to dull; to blunt; to deaden; to quell.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To reduce the edge or effects of; to mitigate; to dull.

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

  • verb reduce the edge or violence of

Etymologies

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

[Middle English obtunden, from Latin obtundere : ob-, against; see ob– + tundere, to beat.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin obtundere ("to dull", "deaden", "deafen"), from ob- + tundere

Examples

  • Here Claudia formed the habit of drinking much more wine than was good for her: and she did it to blunt her sensibility; to obtund the sharpness of her heartache; to give her sleep.

    Self-Raised

  • While we live upon the level with the rest of mankind, we are reminded of our duty by the admonitions of friends and reproaches of enemies; but men who stand in the highest ranks of society, seldom hear of their faults; if by any accident an opprobrious clamour reaches their ears, flattery is always at hand to pour in her opiates, to quiet conviction, and obtund remorse.

    The Rambler, sections 171-208 (1751-1752); The Adventurer, sections 34-108 (1753); from The Works of Samuel Johnson, in Sixteen Volumes, Volume IV

  • The manner in which external force acts upon the body is very little subject to the regulation of the will; no man can at pleasure obtund or invigorate his senses, prolong the agency of any impulse, or continue the presence of any image traced upon the eye, or any sound infused into the ear.

    The Rambler, sections 55-112 (1750-1751); from The Works of Samuel Johnson in Sixteen Volumes, Vol. IV

  • While we live upon the level with the rest of mankind, we are reminded of our duty by the admonitions of friends and reproaches of enemies; but men who stand in the highest ranks of society, seldom hear of their faults; if by any accident an opprobrious clamour reaches their ears, flattery is always at hand to pour in her opiates, to quiet conviction, and obtund remorse.

    The Works of Samuel Johnson, Volume 03 The Rambler, Volume II

  • Also, Codeine can obtund you and it also supresses the cough reflex.

    Alex Jones' Prison Planet.com

  • Likewise a writer or speaker generally should not say obtund when the verbs dull and blunt come more readily to mind.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol X No 3

  • (and it is granted they are to be preferred above all other earthly things); but where they fill and possess the heart, where they weaken and obtund the affections unto things spiritual, heavenly, and eternal, unless we are mortified unto them, the heart will never be in a good frame, nor is capable of that degree in the grace of repentance which we seek.

    Gospel Grounds and Evidences of the Faith of God���s Elect

  • Turning to Webster’s the reporter discovered that to “obtund” means to “dull,” “blunt,” or “quell.”

    The Last Empress

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