1. incapable of feeling or perceiving; deprived of sensation; unconscious, as a person after a violent blow.
  2. without or not subject to a particular feeling or sensation: insensible to shame; insensible to the cold.
  3. unaware; unconscious; inappreciative: We are not insensible of your kindness.
  4. not perceptible by the senses; imperceptible: insensible transitions.
  5. unresponsive in feeling.
  6. not susceptible of emotion or passion; void of any feeling.
  7. not endowed with feeling or sensation, as matter; inanimate.

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. 2018

Examples from the Web for insensibly

Historical Examples of insensibly

  • From desiring the farm, insensibly Crane drifted into coveting the mare.


    W. A. Fraser

  • You will insensibly, too, learn from other parts of his character which he does not exhibit to us.

  • He set his hands on her shoulders, she suffering it passively, insensibly.

    The Snare

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Insensibly, the two parties had ceased to have impulses and tastes in common.

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

  • Marmaduke insensibly relapsed into the language of the Friends as he grew warm.

    The Pioneers

    James Fenimore Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for insensibly


  1. lacking sensation or consciousness
  2. (foll by of or to) unaware (of) or indifferent (to)insensible to suffering
  3. thoughtless or callous
  4. 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 insensibly

early 15c.; see insensible + -ly (2).



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

insensibly in Medicine


  1. Having lost consciousness, especially temporarily; unconscious.
  2. 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.