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Definition of "desensitize" [desensitize]

  • To render insensitive or less sensitive. (verb-transitive)
  • Immunology To make (an individual) nonreactive or insensitive to an antigen. (verb-transitive)
  • To make emotionally insensitive or unresponsive, as by long exposure or repeated shocks: "This movie in effect may resensitize people who thought they were desensitized to violence” ( Steven Spielberg). (verb-transitive)
  • To make (a photographic film or substance) less sensitive to light. (verb-transitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "desensitize" in a sentence
  • "Army Ranger Handbook and the Transportation Security Administration's standard operational practices for airport screening, and encouraged conducting "fake operations" such as leaving bags that appear to be suspicious packages in public places to "desensitize" federal agents."
  • "However, for those at highest risk of severe influenza infection, a method is available to "desensitize" people to the egg proteins in the vaccine (see Egg Allergies)."
  • "If it were possible to "desensitize" all such bad words, what do you then have to take their place in communication?"