The most common definition I have of numb is:
"Deprived of the power of sensation."
"Deprived of feeling or responsiveness."
These definitions show up in nearly the same form in multiple dictionaries, yet I see comparative and superlative forms "number" and "numbest" listed as well. I understand numb to mean complete deprivation of feeling, and so here's my question.
I had a student write the sentence: His fingers got number the longer he stayed outside. She asked if it was correct (because the spelling looked funny to her; it looked like number, as in "the number seven"), and I told her that numb didn't need a comparative form because it implied complete lack of sensation. I told her she could phrase a sentence His fingers slowly became numb... to signify that he was getting colder, but that she should not use numb in a comparative or superlative sense. Can somebody explain to me the reasoning for the comparative and superlative forms of this word. As well, I have the same problem with "wet, wetter, wettest."