1590s, "to make deaf," from deaf
. The earlier verb was simply deaf
(mid-15c.). For "to become deaf, to grow deaf," O.E. had adeafian
(intrans.), which survived into M.E. as deave
but then took on a transitive sense from mid-14c. and sank from use except in dialects (where it mostly has transitive and figurative senses), leaving English without an intransitive verb here.