sensible


sensible
sensible, sensitive
1. The primary meaning of sensible is ‘having (common) sense’, i.e. the opposite of foolish, and of sensitive ‘easily offended or emotionally hurt’. In these uses they hardly get in each other's way. Where they overlap is in meanings to do with reactions involving the senses or feelings: you are sensible of something when you apprehend it with emotional consciousness and are sensitive to something when you react to it with strong emotional feeling, the words ‘consciousness’ and ‘feeling’ characterizing the difference between the two. However, sensible of now sounds old-fashioned, and a more likely choice of words might be conscious of or aware of, although these admittedly denote intellectual rather than emotional perceptions.
2. The nouns sensibility and sensitivity are harder to keep apart. Sensibility corresponds to sensible (in its familiar meaning) much less closely than sensitivity does to sensitive, and chiefly denotes (often in the plural) a person's delicate finer feelings:

• Walter was a little hurt at this since he did most of the cooking at their place, but Zimmerman was too upset to worry about Walter's sensibilities —Ben Elton, 1992.

Sensitivity has a wider range of meanings concerned with physical or emotional reactions of various kinds:

• My reference to it was simply a tease, and all the more tempting given Victor's known sensitivity on the point —Climber and Hill Walker, 1991

• This book's greatest strength is its sensitivity to Kissinger the man —Scotland on Sunday, 2004.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sensible — [ sɑ̃sibl ] adj. • XIIIe; lat. sensibilis « qui peut être senti »; « qui peut sentir », en lat. médiéval I ♦ Sens actif 1 ♦ Capable de sensation et de perception. Les êtres sensibles. « Avoir l ouïe sensible, fine et juste » (Rousseau). « si le… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • sensible — Sensible. adj. v. de tout genre. Qui a du sentiment. Les pierres ne sont pas sensibles. l oeil est une partie fort sensible. les parties nerveuses sont les plus sensibles. il ne faut pas appuyer les esperons à ce cheval. il est trop sensible, il… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Sensible — Sen si*ble, a. [F., fr. L. sensibilis, fr. sensus sense.] 1. Capable of being perceived by the senses; apprehensible through the bodily organs; hence, also, perceptible to the mind; making an impression upon the sense, reason, or understanding;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sensible — adjetivo 1. Que tiene sensibilidad, puede percibir sensaciones o siente con mayor o menor intensidad una sensación externa: Las plantas son seres sensibles. Unas personas son más sensibles que otras al dolor físico. Soy mucho más sensible a l… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • sensible — ► ADJECTIVE 1) wise and prudent; having or showing common sense. 2) practical and functional rather than decorative. 3) (sensible of/to) formal or dated aware of: I am very sensible to your concerns. DERIVATIVES sensibleness noun sensibly adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • Sensible — Sen si*ble, n. 1. Sensation; sensibility. [R.] Our temper changed . . . which must needs remove the sensible of pain. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. That which impresses itself on the sense; anything perceptible. [1913 Webster] Aristotle distinguished …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sensible — (Del lat. sensibĭlis). 1. adj. Que siente, física y moralmente. 2. Que puede ser conocido por medio de los sentidos. 3. Perceptible, manifiesto, patente al entendimiento. 4. Que causa o mueve sentimientos de pena o de dolor. 5. Dicho de una… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • sensible — [sen′sə bəl] adj. [ME < MFr < L sensibilis < sensus, pp. of sentire, to feel, SENSE] 1. that can cause physical sensation; perceptible to the senses 2. perceptible to the intellect 3. easily perceived or noticed; marked; striking;… …   English World dictionary

  • sensible — 1. capacidad para percibir o transmitir una sensación o estímulo. 2. se dice de los microorganismos que se ven afectados por bajas concentraciones de fármacos antimicrobianos. 3. anormalmente susceptible a una sustancia, como a un fármaco o a una …   Diccionario médico

  • sensible — I adjective advisable, apprised, astute, conscious, cool headed, discerning, discreet, discriminating, enlightened, farsighted, informed, intelligent, judicious, justifiable, knowing, knowledgeable, levelheaded, logical, observant, palpable,… …   Law dictionary


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