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Origin of hypersensitive

First recorded in 1870–75; hyper- + sensitive
Related formshy·per·sen·si·tive·ness, hy·per·sen·si·tiv·i·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for hypersensitivity


  1. having unduly vulnerable feelings
  2. abnormally sensitive to an allergen, a drug, or other agent
Derived Formshypersensitiveness or hypersensitivity, noun
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

Word Origin and History for hypersensitivity



1827, a hybrid from hyper- + sensitive. Related: Hypersensitivity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hypersensitivity in Medicine


  1. Responding excessively to the stimulus of a foreign agent, such as an allergen; abnormally sensitive.
Related formshy′per•sensi•tive•ness null n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

hypersensitivity in Culture


An excessive or abnormal sensitivity to a substance. A person who is hypersensitive to a certain drug will often suffer a severe allergic reaction (see allergy) if given the drug.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.