deficient in human sensibility, acuteness of feeling, or consideration; unfeeling; callous: an insensitive person.
not physically sensitive: insensitive skin.
not affected by physical or chemical agencies or influences: insensitive to light.
not readily responsive or aware: insensitive to the needs of the peasants.

Origin of insensitive

First recorded in 1600–10; in-3 + sensitive
Related formsin·sen·si·tive·ness, in·sen·si·tiv·i·ty, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for insensitive

Contemporary Examples of insensitive

Historical Examples of insensitive

  • Calhoun drew a sample of blood from the insensitive area on Murgatroyd's flank.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • Should it not be considered a mark of defective cultivation to be insensitive to color?

    A Color Notation

    Albert H. Munsell

  • He was too insensitive to be reached by words, no matter how she pelted them at him.

    The Fighting Edge

    William MacLeod Raine

  • So this that quivered in his thick fingers, too insensitive to feel it, was a valentine for him!

    Five Tales

    John Galsworthy

  • All insensitive tissues are made with a single sample of hard gelatine.

British Dictionary definitions for insensitive



lacking sensitivity; unfeeling
lacking physical sensation
(postpositive foll by to) not sensitive (to) or affected (by)insensitive to radiation
Derived Formsinsensitively, adverbinsensitiveness or insensitivity, 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 insensitive

c.1600, "having little or no reaction to what is perceived by one's senses," from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + sensitive. For sense, see insensate. Meaning "without consideration for the feelings of others" attested by 1975. Related: Insensitively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper