Origin of insensible

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Latin word insēnsibilis. See in-3, sensible
Related formsin·sen·si·bly, adverbin·sen·si·bil·i·ty, noun

Synonyms for insensible Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for insensibility

Historical Examples of insensibility

  • He had seized upon her by violence in a moment of insensibility.


    William Godwin

  • It was obvious that he was going to be beaten into insensibility.

    In the Orbit of Saturn

    Roman Frederick Starzl

  • And yet, even at the time, I did not suspect him of insensibility.

    Under Western Eyes

    Joseph Conrad

  • The shock jarred his boiling brain into the perfect quietude of insensibility.

    A Set of Six

    Joseph Conrad

  • I believe that insensibility like this is not to be paralleled!


    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for insensibility



lacking sensation or consciousness
(foll by of or to) unaware (of) or indifferent (to)insensible to suffering
thoughtless or callous
a less common word for imperceptible
Derived Formsinsensibility or insensibleness, nouninsensibly, adverb
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 insensibility

late 14c., from Late Latin insensibilitas, from Latin insensibilis (see insensible).



c.1400, "lacking the power to feel with the senses," from Latin insensibilis "that cannot be felt," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + sensibilis (see sensible). Also sometimes in Middle English "incapable of being felt or perceived by the senses" (early 15c.). Meaning "unconscious" is attested from early 15c. See insensate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

insensibility in Medicine




Having lost consciousness, especially temporarily; unconscious.
Lacking physical sensation or the power to react, as to pain or cold; numb.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.