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[sens] /sɛns/
any of the faculties, as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch, by which humans and animals perceive stimuli originating from outside or inside the body:
My sense of smell tells me that dinner is ready.
these faculties collectively.
their operation or function; sensation.
a feeling or perception produced through the organs of touch, taste, etc., or resulting from a particular condition of some part of the body:
to have a sense of cold.
a faculty or function of the mind analogous to sensation:
the moral sense.
any special capacity for perception, estimation, appreciation, etc.:
a sense of humor.
Usually, senses. clear and sound mental faculties; sanity:
Have you taken leave of your senses?
a more or less vague perception or impression:
a sense of security.
a mental discernment, realization, or recognition; acuteness:
a just sense of the worth of a thing.
the recognition of something as incumbent or fitting:
a sense of duty.
sound practical intelligence:
He has no sense.
something that is sensible or reasonable:
Try to talk sense instead of shouting.
the meaning or gist of something:
You missed the sense of his statement.
the value or worth of something; merit:
There's no sense in worrying about the past.
the meaning of a word or phrase in a specific context, especially as isolated in a dictionary or glossary; the semantic element in a word or group of words.
an opinion or judgment formed or held, especially by an assemblage or body of persons:
the sense of a meeting.
Genetics. a DNA sequence that is capable of coding for an amino acid (distinguished from nonsense).
Mathematics. one of two opposite directions in which a vector may point.
verb (used with object), sensed, sensing.
to perceive (something) by the senses; become aware of.
to grasp the meaning of; understand.
(of certain mechanical devices) to detect physical phenomena, as light, temperature, radioactivity, etc., mechanically, electrically, or photoelectrically.
Computers. to read (punched holes, tape, data, etc.) mechanically, electrically, or photoelectrically.
come to one's senses, to regain one's good judgment or realistic point of view; become reasonable.
in a sense, according to one explanation or view; to a certain extent:
In a sense it may have been the only possible solution.
make sense, to be reasonable or comprehensible:
His attitude doesn't make sense.
Origin of sense
1350-1400; (noun) Middle English < Latin sēnsus sensation, feeling, understanding, equivalent to sent(īre) to feel + -tus suffix of v. action, with tt > s; (v.) derivative of the noun
Related forms
half-sensed, adjective
unsensed, adjective
unsensing, adjective
Can be confused
cents, scents, sense.
4. Sense, sensation refer to consciousness of stimulus or of a perception as pleasant or unpleasant. A sense is an awareness or recognition of something; the stimulus may be subjective and the entire process may be mental or intellectual: a sense of failure. A sensation is an impression derived from an objective (external) stimulus through any of the sense organs: a sensation of heat. It is also a general, indefinite physical or emotional feeling: a sensation of weariness. 5. awareness, apprehension. 7. rationality. 9. estimation, appreciation. 13. signification, import, denotation, connotation, interpretation. See meaning. 16. feeling, sentiment. 19. discern, appreciate, recognize. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for come to one's senses


any of the faculties by which the mind receives information about the external world or about the state of the body. In addition to the five traditional faculties of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, the term includes the means by which bodily position, temperature, pain, balance, etc, are perceived
such faculties collectively; the ability to perceive
a feeling perceived through one of the senses: a sense of warmth
a mental perception or awareness: a sense of happiness
moral discernment; understanding: a sense of right and wrong
(sometimes pl) sound practical judgment or intelligence: he is a man without any sense
reason or purpose: what is the sense of going out in the rain?
substance or gist; meaning: what is the sense of this proverb?
specific meaning; definition: in what sense are you using the word?
an opinion or consensus
(maths) one of two opposite directions measured on a directed line; the sign as contrasted with the magnitude of a vector
(logic, linguistics)
  1. the import of an expression as contrasted with its referent. Thus the morning star and the evening star have the same reference, Venus, but different senses
  2. the property of an expression by virtue of which its referent is determined
  3. that which one grasps in understanding an expression
make sense, to be reasonable or understandable
take leave of one's senses, See leave2 (sense 8)
verb (transitive)
to perceive through one or more of the senses
to apprehend or detect without or in advance of the evidence of the senses
to understand
  1. to test or locate the position of (a part of computer hardware)
  2. to read (data)
Word Origin
C14: from Latin sēnsus, from sentīre to feel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for come to one's senses



c.1400, "faculty of perception," also "meaning, import, interpretation" (especially of Holy Scripture), from Old French sens "one of the five senses; meaning; wit, understanding" (12c.) and directly from Latin sensus "perception, feeling, undertaking, meaning," from sentire "perceive, feel, know," probably a figurative use of a literally meaning "to find one's way," or "to go mentally," from PIE root *sent- "to go" (cf. Old High German sinnan "to go, travel, strive after, have in mind, perceive," German Sinn "sense, mind," Old English sið "way, journey," Old Irish set, Welsh hynt "way"). Application to any one of the external or outward senses (touch, sight, hearing, etc.) in English first recorded 1520s.

A certain negro tribe has a special word for "see;" but only one general word for "hear," "touch," "smell," and "taste." It matters little through which sense I realize that in the dark I have blundered into a pig-sty. In French "sentir" means to smell, to touch, and to feel, all together. [Erich M. von Hornbostel, "Die Einheit der Sinne" ("The Unity of the Senses"), 1927]
Meaning "that which is wise" is from c.1600. Meaning "capacity for perception and appreciation" is from c.1600 (e.g. Sense of humor, attested by 1783, sense of shame, 1640s).



"to perceive by the senses," 1590s, from sense (n.). Meaning "be conscious inwardly of (one's state or condition) is from 1680s. Meaning "perceive (a fact or situation) not by direct perception" is from 1872. Related: Sensed; sensing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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come to one's senses in Medicine

sense (sěns)

  1. Any of the faculties by which stimuli from outside or inside the body are received and felt, as the faculties of hearing, sight, smell, touch, taste, and equilibrium.

  2. A perception or feeling that is produced by a stimulus; sensation, as of hunger.

v. sensed, sens·ing, sens·es
To become aware of; perceive.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with come to one's senses

come to one's senses

Return to thinking or behaving sensibly and reasonably; recover consciousness. For example, I wish he'd come to his senses and stop playing around . This term employs senses in the sense of “normal or sane mental faculties,” and in the earliest recorded use (1637) it meant “recover from a swoon.” Its broader present-day meaning dates from the mid-1800s. The related bring someone to his or her senses was used by John Gay in his Beggars' Opera (1727). Also see take leave (of one's senses)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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