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sensible +‎ -ity, from Middle French sensibilité, and its source, Latin sēnsibilitās.


  • IPA(key): /ˌsɛnsɪˈbɪlɪti/


sensibility (countable and uncountable, plural sensibilities)

  1. The ability to sense, feel or perceive; responsiveness to sensory stimuli; sensitivity. [from 15th c.]
    • 2011, William Thomson, Reprint of Papers on Electrostatics and Magnetism, p. 204:
      The high sensibility of the divided ring electrometer renders this test really very easy […].
  2. Emotional or artistic awareness; keen sensitivity to matters of feeling or creative expression. [from 17th c.]
    • 2015, Kathleen T. Galvin, Monica Prendergast, Poetic Inquiry II, p. 266:
      By poetic ethic I am speaking about the intention to act on, and incorporate into a narrative configuration, values and beliefs that promote a poetic ontology and a poetic sensibility.
  3. (now rare, archaic) Excessive emotional awareness; the fact or quality of being overemotional. [from 18th c.]
    • 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Penguin 2004, p. 106:
      People of sensibility have seldom good tempers.
  4. (in the plural) An acute awareness or feeling. [from 18th c.]
    • 2019, Li Huang; James Lambert, “Another Arrow for the Quiver: A New Methodology for Multilingual Researchers”, in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, DOI:10.1080/01434632.2019.1596115, page 11:
      However, given current sensibilities about individual privacy and data protection, the recording of oral data is becoming increasingly onerous for researchers[.]
    I apologize if I offended your sensibilities, but that's the truth of the matter.
  5. (obsolete) The capacity to be perceived by the senses. [15th–17th c.]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further reading[edit]

  • "sensibility" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 280.