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
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    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
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    Antonyms:
    sensitise, sensitize
    cause to sense; make sensitive
    types:
    show 4 types...
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    benumb, blunt, dull, numb
    make numb or insensitive
    bedaze, daze, stun
    overcome as with astonishment or disbelief
    besot, stupefy
    make dull or stupid or muddle with drunkenness or infatuation
    deaf, deafen
    make or render deaf
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
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