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Shell-shocked is an idiom that is about 100 years old. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom shell-shocked, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Shell-shocked describes someone who is mentally confused or upset; someone who is shell-shocked is highly stressed and has been stunned by a difficult circumstance or occurrence. For instance, someone who has been suddenly fired from his position may be shell-shocked. Shell-shocked is also used in a literal sense to mean someone who suffers from shell shock, a post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by those who have seen combat. The expression shell-shocked is derived from the term shell shock that was coined by Charles Samuel Myers to describe a type of battle fatigue experienced by soldiers who fought in World War I; it is derived from the intense trench fighting using mortar shells in World War I. Shell-shocked is a hyphenated compound word, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, though it is sometimes seen rendered as one word, shellshocked.


People reports that Prince Charles is having a hard time dealing with the fallout between Harry and the rest of the royals, with a friend saying he is “shell-shocked by it all” and that “he is very hurt and upset.” (Cosmopolitan)

The fans gave the home team a one-goal lead and at that point we were a little bit shell-shocked,” Martinez told reporters after a match which included a minute’s applause for Eriksen in the 10th minute. (Jakarta Post)

Mr Dixon said: “We are just shell-shocked and utterly devastated that our funny, beautiful daughter is not with us anymore. (Manchester Evening News)