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[sen-shuh nt ‐shee-uh nt ‐tee-uh nt] /ˈsɛn ʃənt ‐ʃi ənt ‐ti ənt/
having the power of perception by the senses; conscious.
characterized by sensation and consciousness.
a person or thing that is sentient.
Archaic. the conscious mind.
Origin of sentient
1595-1605; < Latin sentient- (stem of sentiēns, present participle of sentīre to feel), equivalent to senti- verb stem + -ent- -ent
Related forms
sentiently, adverb
nonsentient, adjective
nonsentiently, adverb
unsentient, adjective
unsentiently, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sentient
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From reflex acts of the nervous system animals rise to sentient and volitional ones.

  • The big fellow could stand what he must with set jaws when he was sentient.

    The Fighting Edge William MacLeod Raine
  • The sum of life experiences consists solely in the adjustments required to enable the sentient organism—man or beast—to live.

  • Except as an idea in some sentient mind, it could not be said to exist at all.

    Life and Matter Oliver Lodge
  • It is seen, not only as real, not only as informed with reason, but as sentient.

    Nature Mysticism J. Edward Mercer
  • He was not probably a sentient being, certainly not a conversational one.

    Campaigns of a Non-Combatant, George Alfred Townsend
  • On every hand were sentient thinking beings who played their part and did their work in the world from which they drew their life.

    The Passion for Life Joseph Hocking
British Dictionary definitions for sentient


having the power of sense perception or sensation; conscious
(rare) a sentient person or thing
Derived Forms
sentiently, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin sentiēns feeling, from sentīre to perceive
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 sentient

1630s, "capable of feeling," from Latin sentientem (nominative sentiens) "feeling," present participle of sentire "to feel" (see sense (n.)). Meaning "conscious" (of something) is from 1815.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sentient in Medicine

sentient sen·tient (sěn'shənt, -shē-ənt)

  1. Having sense perception; conscious.

  2. Experiencing sensation or feeling.

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