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desensitize

To desensitize is to make less sensitive, or less easily upset. Some people say that watching scary movies desensitizes kids to violence.

A shot of novocaine desensitizes you to the pain of having a cavity drilled by your dentist, and lots of spicy food can desensitize you to more subtle flavors. In both cases, you become less perceptive, or less affected by a sensation or taste. Witnessing violence can likewise desensitize soldiers or war reporters. The word originally referred to photographic development, from de-, "do the opposite of," and sensitize, with its Latin root sentire, "feel or perceive."

Definitions of desensitize
  1. verb
    make insensitive
    “His military training desensitized him”
    synonyms: desensitise
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    sensibilise, sensibilize, sensify, sensitise, sensitize
    make sensitive or aware
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  2. verb
    cause not to be sensitive
    “The war desensitized many soldiers”
    “The photographic plate was desensitized
    synonyms: desensitise
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    sensitise, sensitize
    cause to sense; make sensitive
    types:
    show 4 types...
    hide 4 types...
    benumb, blunt, dull, numb
    make numb or insensitive
    bedaze, daze, stun
    overcome as with astonishment or disbelief
    besot, stupefy
    make someone dazed or foolish
    deaf, deafen
    make or render deaf
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
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