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"cause (someone) to understand," c.1400, ensense, from Old French ensenser "to enlighten, to bring to sense," from en- "in" (see in- (2)) + sens (see sense (n.)). Restricted to Northern English dialect from 17c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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  • The King had been hard to insense (cause to understand: still a Northern provincialism) at the first.

    In Convent Walls Emily Sarah Holt
  • Well, we all sat down on a old motor chassis or what was left of it, and burned them smokes like insense, not speaking a word!

    Believe You Me! Nina Wilcox Putnam

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