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 or sensiblest)

  1. Acting with or showing good sense; able to make good judgements based on reason, or reflecting such ability.
    • 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.
    Synonym: reasonable
    Coordinate terms: prudent, wise, appropriate
  2. Characterized more by usefulness, practicality, or comfort than by attractiveness, formality, or fashionableness, especially of clothing.
    I only wear high heels on formal occasions; otherwise, I prefer sensible shoes.
    • 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.
  3. (especially formally) Able to be sensed by the senses or the psyche; able to be perceived.
    • 1751, John Arbuthnot, An Essay Concerning the Effects of Air on Human Bodies (page 1)
      Air is sensible to the Touch by its Motion, and by its Resistance to Bodies moved in it.
    • 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.
    • 1690, William Temple, “Of Heroick Virtue”, in Miscellanea. The Second Part. [...], 2nd edition, London: [] J. R. for Ri[chard] and Ra[lph] Simpson, [], OCLC 863624292, section III, page 207:
      [T]he diſgrace was more ſensible than the pain.
    • 1776 March 9, Adam Smith, chapter 11, in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. [], volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Strahan; and T[homas] Cadell, [], OCLC 762139, book I (Of the Causes of Improvement in the Productive Powers of Labour, []), page 241:
      The discovery of the mines of America [] does not seem to have had any very sensible effect upon the prices of things in England.
    Synonyms: perceptible, appreciable, detectable
    Antonyms: insensible, imperceptible, unappreciable, undetectable
  4. (archaic) Able to feel or perceive.
  5. (archaic) Liable to external impression; easily affected; sensitive.
    a sensible thermometer
  6. (archaic) Of or pertaining to the senses; sensory.
  7. (archaic) Cognizant; having the perception of something; aware of something.
    • 1689 (indicated as 1690), [John Locke], An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. [], London: [] Eliz[abeth] Holt, for Thomas Basset, [], OCLC 153628242:
      , Book II, Chapter I
      He cannot think at any time, waking or sleeping, without being sensible of it.
    • 1810, Thomas Green, Extracts from the diary of a lover of literature
      we are now sensible that it would have been absurd
    • 1749, [John Cleland], “[Letter the First]”, in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], volume I, London: [] G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] [], OCLC 731622352, pages 213–214:
      Diſingaging myſelf then from his embrace, I made him ſenſible of the reaſons there were for his preſent leaving me; on which, tho' reluctantly, he put on his cloaths with as little expedition, however, as he could help, wantonly interrupting himſelf between whiles, with kiſſes, touches, and embraces, I could not refuſe myſelf to; [...]

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 at Translations section).
  • "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.
  2. (obsolete) That which impresses itself on the senses; anything perceptible.
    • 1857, William Fleming, Vocabulary of Philosophyyy
      Aristotle distinguished sensibles into common and proper.
  3. (obsolete) That which has sensibility; a sensitive being.

Further reading[edit]


Catalan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin sēnsibilis, attested from the 14th century.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

sensible (masculine and feminine plural sensibles)

  1. sentient
  2. sensitive

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ sensible”, in Gran Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana, Grup Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2022

Further reading[edit]


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]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

sensible

  1. inflection of sensibel:
    1. strong/mixed nominative/accusative feminine singular
    2. strong nominative/accusative plural
    3. weak nominative all-gender singular
    4. weak accusative feminine/neuter singular

Spanish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin sēnsibilis.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /senˈsible/, [sẽnˈsi.β̞le]
  • Rhymes: -ible
  • Hyphenation: sen‧si‧ble

Adjective[edit]

sensible (plural sensibles)

  1. sensitive
  2. sentient
  3. responsive

Usage notes[edit]

  • Sensible is a false friend, and does not mean reasonable in Spanish. The Spanish word for that English meaning of sensible is sensato.

Antonyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]