verb (used with object), sensed, sens·ing.
Origin of sense
Synonyms for sense
- 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
- the property of an expression by virtue of which its referent is determined
- that which one grasps in understanding an expression
- to test or locate the position of (a part of computer hardware)
- to read (data)
Word Origin for sense
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.
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).
see come to one's senses; horse sense; in a sense; lull into (a false sense of security); make sense; sixth sense; take leave of (one's senses); talk sense.