If you are unable to feel a part of your body, such as your hand or a foot, it might be numb. To be numb or have numbness means that you can’t feel pain.

  • Sophia’s hands and feet became numb after being outside in the cold for so long.
  • After the accident, the man said that his legs were numb. Later, doctors told him he was paralyzed from the waist down.
  • My hand went numb because I was sleeping in an awkward position.
  • The dentist gave Tom some novocaine to numb the nerves around the tooth that she was working on. (This sentence uses "numb" as an infinitive.)

novocaine Tom didn’t feel any pain because his tooth was numb.

Following a traumatic experience or the death of someone you love, you might use the word "numb" to describe how you feel:

  • Some survivors of the bombing said they felt numb after seeing so many of their relatives killed.
  • Martha said she felt numb following the death of her mother.
  • Todd said he was numb after learning that he had lost his job.
  • A feeling of numbness swept over Mathilda when she learned that her cat ran away.

Note: As you can hear from the recording, the "b" at the end of "numb" is silent.

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September 14, 2013