Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[pen-siv] /ˈpɛn sɪv/
dreamily or wistfully thoughtful:
a pensive mood.
expressing or revealing thoughtfulness, usually marked by some sadness:
a pensive adagio.
Origin of pensive
1325-75; < French (feminine); replacing Middle English pensif < Middle French (masculine), derivative of penser to think < Latin pēnsāre to weigh, consider, derivative of pēnsus, past participle of pendere. See pension, -ive
Related forms
pensively, adverb
pensiveness, noun
overpensive, adjective
overpensively, adverb
overpensiveness, noun
1. thoughtless.
Synonym Study
1. Pensive, meditative, reflective suggest quiet modes of apparent or real thought. Pensive, the weakest of the three, suggests dreaminess or wistfulness, and may involve little or no thought to any purpose: a pensive, faraway look. Meditative involves thinking of certain facts or phenomena, perhaps in the religious sense of “contemplation,” without necessarily having a goal of complete understanding or of action: meditative but unjudicial. Reflective has a strong implication of orderly, perhaps analytic, processes of thought, usually with a definite goal of understanding: a careful and reflective critic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for pensively
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "There's ONE comfort," he remarked, pensively, as she worked.

    Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
  • "Strange that he makes no mention of Valerie" said Marius pensively.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • "She was very kind—a sweet woman," said Andre-Louis pensively.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • "You do me a fuller justice than many who have known me longer," said he, pensively.

    One Of Them Charles James Lever
  • "They do not cross my mind as they used to do," said she, pensively.

    One Of Them Charles James Lever
  • She gazed down at the keys of the piano, touched them pensively.

    The Crimson Tide Robert W. Chambers
  • Donnaught asked, pensively checking the charge in a needler gun.

    Warrior Race Robert Sheckley
  • "Dan, I'll hev to lay inter you ef you act this way," said Troop, pensively.

    "Captains Courageous" Rudyard Kipling
British Dictionary definitions for pensively


deeply or seriously thoughtful, often with a tinge of sadness
expressing or suggesting pensiveness
Derived Forms
pensively, adverb
pensiveness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French pensif, from penser to think, from Latin pensāre to consider; compare pension1
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pensively



late 14c., from Old French pensif "thoughtful, distracted, musing" (11c.), from penser "to think," from Latin pensare "weigh, consider," frequentative of pendere "weigh" (see pendant). Related: Pensively; pensiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for pensively

Word Value for pensively

Scrabble Words With Friends