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[sen-si-tiv-i-tee] /ˌsɛn sɪˈtɪv ɪ ti/
noun, plural sensitivities for 2, 3.
the state or quality of being sensitive; sensitiveness.
  1. the ability of an organism or part of an organism to react to stimuli; irritability.
  2. degree of susceptibility to stimulation.
  1. the ability of a radio device to react to incoming signals, expressed as the minimum input signal required to produce a specified output signal with a given noise level.
  2. the input, as voltage, current, or the like, required to produce full deflection in an electric measuring device, expressed as the ratio of the response to the magnitude of the input quantity.
Origin of sensitivity
First recorded in 1795-1805; sensitive + -ity
Related forms
antisensitivity, noun, plural antisensitivities, adjective
nonsensitivity, noun, plural nonsensitivities. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sensitivity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Is it connected with the phenomena of exteriorization of sensitivity or motivity?

  • But how can a magnet increase the sensitivity of a vacuum tube?

  • Valentine Mitchel was, however, a young man of some sensitivity.

    Gladiator Philip Wylie
  • In vers libre his musical chances are but in sensitivity and invention.

    Instigations Ezra Pound
  • There are several factors that determine the sensitivity of the method.

    The Atomic Fingerprint Bernard Keisch
British Dictionary definitions for sensitivity


noun (pl) -ties
the state or quality of being sensitive
(physiol) the state, condition, or quality of reacting or being sensitive to an external stimulus, drug, allergen, etc
(electronics) the magnitude or time of response of an instrument, circuit, etc, to an input signal, such as a current
(photog) the degree of response of an emulsion to light or other actinic radiation, esp to light of a particular colour, expressed in terms of its speed
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 sensitivity

1803, from sensitive + -ity. Sensitivity training attested by 1954.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sensitivity in Medicine

sensitivity sen·si·tiv·i·ty (sěn'sĭ-tĭv'ĭ-tē)

  1. The quality or condition of being sensitive.

  2. The capacity of an organ or organism to respond to a stimulus.

  3. The proportion of individuals in a population that will be correctly identified when administered a test designed to detect a particular disease, calculated as the number of true positive results divided by the number of true positive and false negative results.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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