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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ As a rule, therapists tend to become desensitized to the scene content as they progress.
▪ Maybe he was desensitized by drugs.
▪ The theory is that industrial alcohol can desensitize some one to all synthetic organic chemicals, because it is derived from oil.
▪ We apparently have been desensitized and need to increase our awareness of the effects violent programming can have.
▪ With this area desensitized, it is only a matter of time before the sensitivity of faith's communication is also numbed.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

desensitize \desensitize\ v. t. to rendered insensitive or less sensitive. Opposite of sensitize.

Syn: deaden.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1904; see de- "do the opposite of" + sensitize. Originally of photography development; psychological sense is first recorded 1935. Related: Desensitized; desensitizing.


alt. To cause to become less sensitive or insensitive. vb. To cause to become less sensitive or insensitive.

  1. v. cause not to be sensitive; "The war desensitized many soldiers"; "The photographic plate was desensitized" [syn: desensitise] [ant: sensitize, sensitize]

  2. make insensitive; "His military training desensitized him" [syn: desensitise] [ant: sensitize]

Usage examples of "desensitize".

At the very least this desensitizes young children to aggression and random cruelty.

Her blood began to stir and heat, and an odd tingling sensation moved through her veins, her nerves, as though her circulation were being reawakened, as though her body was emerging from the desensitized lethargy that had held her in its grips for hours now.

The human nose becomes desensitized to a given odor over a period of time, and Gidi was completely unbothered by the filth, the stench, the squalor.

He injected it into Murgatroyd where a small patch of skin on the tormal's flank had been desensitized almost as soon as he was born.

Blackburn, by the time Joel was halfway through the chronology we were not only completely desensitized to what we were hearing, we were also downright bored.

Helva thanked the Service for the small blessing that Kira had been desensitized to such hazards as hallucinogens, but the girl was as immobile in her trance as if she were susceptible.

Prilicla says that this damaged area of hull—what it calls he surface wound—has apparently become desensitized to outside stimuli and we can safely make contact there.

Is it any wonder that impressionable youths force-fed this highly volatile, perversely materialistic weltanschauung could become so desensitized as to be capable of slaughtering classmates?

The Emir didn't care for the sensation at all, even though he'd been desensitized with an anesthetic spray followed by an axillary block.

The fact that a routine trunk murder still draws an audience in Dade County proves we're not so desensitized to crime after all.

They let in forty women who want to be turned into shaven-headed, desensitized grunts.

All flight training had a certain amount of desensitizing built into it.

Not until Project Mercury had there been a flight training program so long and detailed, so sophisticated, and yet so heavily devoted to desensitizing the trainee, to adapting out man's ordinary fears, and enabling one to think and use his hands normally in a novel environment.

It took two main forms: the desensitizing or adapting out of the fears that a rocket flight would ordinarily hold for the animal (just confining an untrained chimpanzee in a Mercury capsule would have driven him berserk with fear).

The first desensitizing pellets had not wholly lost their effect when he added more.