verb (used with object), desensitized, desensitizing.
to lessen the sensitiveness of.
to make indifferent, unaware, or the like, in feeling.
Photography. to make less sensitive or wholly insensitive to light, as the emulsion on a film.
Printing. to treat (the design on a lithographic plate) with an etch in order to increase the capacity to retain moisture, and to remove traces of grease.
Chemistry. to reduce the sensitivity of (an explosive) to those stimuli capable of detonating it.
Also, especially British, desensitise.

1900–05; de- + sensitize

desensitizer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To desensitized
World English Dictionary
desensitize or desensitise (diːˈsɛnsɪˌtaɪz)
1.  to render insensitive or less sensitive: the patient was desensitized to the allergen; to desensitize photographic film
2.  psychol to decrease the abnormal fear in (a person) of a situation or object, by exposing him to it either in reality or in his imagination
desensitise or desensitise
desensiti'zation or desensitise
desensiti'sation or desensitise
de'sensitizer or desensitise
de'sensitiser or desensitise

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1904, from de- "do the opposite of" + sensitize. Originally of photography development; psychological sense is first recorded 1935.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

desensitize de·sen·si·tize (dē-sěn'sĭ-tīz')
v. de·sen·si·tized, de·sen·si·tiz·ing, de·sen·si·tiz·es

  1. To render insensitive or less sensitive, as a nerve or tooth.

  2. To make an individual nonreactive or insensitive to an antigen.

  3. To make a person emotionally insensitive or unresponsive, as by long exposure or repeated shocks.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The receptors to which nicotine binds in the brain quickly become desensitized,
  rendering smoking ultimately ineffective.
Perhaps the neurons become desensitized and need more and more to produce the
  high-to put out pixie dust, metaphorically speaking.
People will simply become further desensitized and smoking rates will drop
  modestly if at all.
Since then a good many of us have become desensitized to the use of torture.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature