sensible

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin sēnsibilis (perceptible by the senses, having feeling, sensible), from sentiō (to feel, perceive).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

sensible (comparative more sensible, superlative most sensible)

  1. (now dated or formal) Perceptible by the senses.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Arbuthnot
      Air is sensible to the touch by its motion.
    • 1778, William Lewis, The New Dispensatory (page 91)
      The sensible qualities of argentina promise no great virtue of this kind; for to the taste it discovers only a slight roughishness, from whence it may be presumed to be entitled to a place only among the milder corroborants.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Folio Society 2008, page 45:
      It has been vouchsafed, for example, to very few Christian believers to have had a sensible vision of their Saviour.
  2. Easily perceived; appreciable.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Sir W. Temple
      The disgrace was more sensible than the pain.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Adam Smith
      The discovery of the mines of America [] does not seem to have had any very sensible effect upon the prices of things in England.
  3. (archaic) Able to feel or perceive.
  4. (archaic) Liable to external impression; easily affected; sensitive.
    a sensible thermometer
  5. Of or pertaining to the senses; sensory.
  6. (archaic) Cognizant; having the perception of something; aware of something.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Locke
      He cannot think at any time, waking or sleeping, without being sensible of it.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Addison
      They are now sensible it would have been better to comply than to refuse.
  7. Acting with or showing good sense; able to make good judgements based on reason.
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 230b.
      They ask questions of someone who thinks he's got something sensible to say on some matter when actually he hasn't.
  8. Characterized more by usefulness or practicality than by fashionableness, especially of clothing.
    • 1999, Neil Gaiman, Stardust (2001 Perennial Edition), page 8,
      They would walk, on fair evenings, around the village, and discuss the theory of crop rotation, and the weather, and other such sensible matters.

Usage notes[edit]

  • "Sensible" describes the reasonable way in which a person may think about things or do things:
    It wouldn't be sensible to start all over again now.
It is not comparable to its cognates in certain languages (see below).
  • "Sensitive" describes an emotional way in which a person may react to things:
    He has always been a sensitive child.
    I didn’t realize she was so sensitive about her work.

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

sensible (plural sensibles)

  1. (obsolete) Sensation; sensibility.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      Our temper changed [] which must needs remove the sensible of pain.
  2. (obsolete) That which impresses itself on the senses; anything perceptible.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Krauth-Fleming
      Aristotle distinguished sensibles into common and proper.
  3. (obsolete) That which has sensibility; a sensitive being.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Burton
      This melancholy extends itself not to men only, but even to vegetals and sensibles.

Further reading[edit]


Catalan[edit]

Adjective[edit]

sensible (masculine and feminine plural sensibles)

  1. sentient
  2. sensitive

French[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Borrowed from Latin sēnsibilis.

Adjective[edit]

sensible (plural sensibles)

  1. sensitive
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Ellipsis of note sensible.

Noun[edit]

sensible f (plural sensibles)

  1. (music) leading tone

Further reading[edit]


German[edit]

Adjective[edit]

sensible

  1. inflected form of sensibel

Spanish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin sēnsibilis.

Adjective[edit]

sensible (plural sensibles)

  1. sensitive

Usage notes[edit]

  • Sensible is a false friend, and does not mean reasonable in Spanish. Spanish equivalents are shown above, in the "Translations" section of the English entry sensible.

Antonyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]