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See more synonyms for insensitive on Thesaurus.com
  1. deficient in human sensibility, acuteness of feeling, or consideration; unfeeling; callous: an insensitive person.
  2. not physically sensitive: insensitive skin.
  3. not affected by physical or chemical agencies or influences: insensitive to light.
  4. not readily responsive or aware: insensitive to the needs of the peasants.
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Origin of insensitive

First recorded in 1600–10; in-3 + sensitive
Related formsin·sen·si·tive·ness, in·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 insensitivity


  1. lacking sensitivity; unfeeling
  2. lacking physical sensation
  3. (postpositive foll by to) not sensitive (to) or affected (by)insensitive to radiation
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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 insensitivity



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper