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Alternative forms[edit]


From sense +‎ -ory.


  • IPA(key): /ˈsɛn.sə.ɹi/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛnsəɹi


sensory (not comparable)

  1. Of the physical senses or sensation.
    • 1665, chapter VI, in Bartholinus Anatomy, London: Nich. Culpeper and Abdiah Cole, translation of Anatomia by Thomas Bartholin, page 142:
      The Species of things are perceived rather there whereto they are carried. But every ſenſory Nerve each in its place carries the Species to the beginning of the ſpinal Marrow, and therefore each in their place are judged and received by the Soul, in the beginning of the ſpinal Marrow.
    • 1873, Alpheus Spring Packard, “Hints on the Ancestry of Insects”, in Our Common Insects: A Popular Account of the Insects of Our Fields, Forests, Gardens and Houses, Salem: Naturalists’ Agency, page 174:
      It is evident that in the ancestor of these two groups the first pair of appendages became early adapted for purely sensory purposes, and were naturally projected far in advance of the mouth, forming the antennæ.
    • 1991, Tetsuo Matsui; Susumu Kato; Susan E. Smith, “Biology and Potential Use of Pacific Grenadier, Coryphaenoides acrolepis, off California”, in Marine Fisheries Review[1], volume 52, number 3, ISSN 0090-1830, page 13:
      Findings of the sensory analysis panel at NWFSC [the Northwest Fisheries Science Center], which tested and classified flesh characteristics of both Pacific and giant grenadier, are averaged and summarized in Table 10.
  2. (neuroanatomy) Conveying nerve impulses from the sense organs to the nerve centers.
    sensory neurons
    Synonym: afferent

Usage notes[edit]

Prefix combining form is sensori-, as in sensorimotor.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



sensory (plural sensories)

  1. (biology, dated) The sensorium.
    • 1704, Sir Isaac Newton, Opticks, 3rd edition, London: W. and J. Innys, published 1721, page 344:
      Is not the Senſory of Animals that place to which the ſenſitive Subſtance is preſent, and into which the ſenſible Species of Things are carried through the Nerves and Brain, that there they may be perceived by their immediate preſence to that ſubſtance ?
  2. (obsolete) An organ or faculty of sense.
    • a. 1626,, Francis Bacon, “Consent of Visibles, and Audibles”, in Sylva Sylvarvm: Or, A Naturall Historie, 3rd edition, London: William Rawley, published 1631, page 68:
      BOth of them ſpread themſelues in Round, and fill a whole Floare or Orbe, vnto certaine Limits : and are carried a great way : And doe languiſh and leſſen by degrees, according to the Diſtance of the Obiects from the Senſories.
    • 1689–90, John Evelyn, William Bray, editor, Memoirs of John Evelyn, volume III, new edition, London: Henry Colburn, published 1827, page 292:
      Dr. Burnet, late Bishop of Sarum, on 4 Heb. v. 13, anatomically describing the texture of the eye [] so God who made this sensorie, did with the greatest ease and at once see all that was don thro’ the vast universe, even to the very thought as well as action.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for sensory in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913)

Derived terms[edit]