"to make numb, deprive of sensation or power of movement," 1550s (implied in numbed), from numb (adj.). Related: Numbing.
c. 1400, nome, "deprived of motion or feeling, powerless to feel or act," literally "taken, seized," from past participle of nimen "to take, seize," from Old English niman "to take, catch, grasp" (from PIE root *nem- "assign, allot; take"). The unetymological -b (to conform to comb, limb, etc.) appeared 17c. The notion is of being "taken" with palsy, shock, and especially cold. Figurative use is from 1560s.
"to take, take up in the hands in order to move, carry, or use; take unlawfully, steal" (archaic), Old English niman "to take, accept, receive, grasp, catch," from Proto-Germanic *nemanan (source also of Old Saxon niman, Old Frisian nima, Middle Dutch nemen, German nehmen, Gothic niman), perhaps from PIE root *nem- "assign, allot; take." The native word, replaced by Scandinavian-derived take (v.) and out of use from c. 1500 except in slang sense of "to steal," which endured into 19c. The derivatives numb and nimble remain in use.
It forms all or part of: agronomy; anomie; anomy; antinomian; antinomy; astronomer; astronomy; autonomous; autonomy; benumb; Deuteronomy; economy; enumerate; enumeration; gastronomy; heteronomy; innumerable; metronome; namaste; nemesis; nimble; nim; nomad; nomothetic; numb; numeracy; numeral; numerator; numerical; numerology; numerous; numismatic; supernumerary; taxonomy.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek nemein "to deal out," nemesis "just indignation;" Latin numerus "number;" Lithuanian nuoma "rent, interest;" Middle Irish nos "custom, usage;" German nehmen "to take."
"lethargy, listlessness," c. 1600, from Latin torpor "numbness, sluggishness," from torpere "be numb, be inactive, be dull" (from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff").
1590s, "acting or moving as if benumbed," alteration of Middle English clumsid "numb with cold" (14c.), past participle of clumsen, clomsen "to benumb, stiffen or paralyze with cold or fear" (early 14c.), also "become numb or stiff, as with cold" (late 14c.), which is from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse klumsa "make speechless, palsy; prevent from speaking," intensive of kluma "to make motionless." For insertion of -s-, see flimsy.
Not in general use until 18c., with senses "manifesting awkwardness; so made as to be unwieldy." Related: Clumsily; clumsiness. Also compare Swedish dialectal klumsen (adj.) "benumbed with cold," Norwegian klumsad (past participle) "speechless, palsied by a spasm or by fear or witchery;" German verklammen "grow stiff or numb with cold." Also compare clumse (n.) "a stupid fellow."