verb (used with object), sensed, sens·ing.


    come to one's senses, to regain one's good judgment or realistic point of view; become reasonable.
    in a sense, according to one explanation or view; to a certain extent: In a sense it may have been the only possible solution.
    make sense, to be reasonable or comprehensible: His attitude doesn't make sense.

Origin of sense

1350–1400; (noun) Middle English < Latin sēnsus sensation, feeling, understanding, equivalent to sent(īre) to feel + -tus suffix of v. action, with tt > s; (v.) derivative of the noun
Related formshalf-sensed, adjectiveun·sensed, adjectiveun·sens·ing, adjective
Can be confusedcents scents sense

Synonyms for sense

4. Sense, sensation refer to consciousness of stimulus or of a perception as pleasant or unpleasant. A sense is an awareness or recognition of something; the stimulus may be subjective and the entire process may be mental or intellectual: a sense of failure. A sensation is an impression derived from an objective (external) stimulus through any of the sense organs: a sensation of heat. It is also a general, indefinite physical or emotional feeling: a sensation of weariness. 5. awareness, apprehension. 7. rationality. 9. estimation, appreciation. 13. signification, import, denotation, connotation, interpretation. See meaning. 16. feeling, sentiment. 19. discern, appreciate, recognize. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for senses

Contemporary Examples of senses

Historical Examples of senses

  • His senses breathed the air of her perfect and compelling femininity.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • An hour ago he had whirled her out of her senses in savage passion.


    William J. Locke

  • What was there in this cross girl to remind any one in his senses of Mrs. Evan Roberts?

  • "Of course I do," I cried angrily, wondering for the moment if he had lost his senses.

  • In spite of herself her senses swam in the rhythmic monotony.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for senses



any of the faculties by which the mind receives information about the external world or about the state of the body. In addition to the five traditional faculties of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, the term includes the means by which bodily position, temperature, pain, balance, etc, are perceived
such faculties collectively; the ability to perceive
a feeling perceived through one of the sensesa sense of warmth
a mental perception or awarenessa sense of happiness
moral discernment; understandinga sense of right and wrong
(sometimes plural) sound practical judgment or intelligencehe is a man without any sense
reason or purposewhat is the sense of going out in the rain?
substance or gist; meaningwhat is the sense of this proverb?
specific meaning; definitionin what sense are you using the word?
an opinion or consensus
maths one of two opposite directions measured on a directed line; the sign as contrasted with the magnitude of a vector
logic linguistics
  1. the import of an expression as contrasted with its referent. Thus the morning star and the evening star have the same reference, Venus, but different senses
  2. the property of an expression by virtue of which its referent is determined
  3. that which one grasps in understanding an expression
make sense to be reasonable or understandable
take leave of one's senses See leave 2 (def. 8)

verb (tr)

to perceive through one or more of the senses
to apprehend or detect without or in advance of the evidence of the senses
to understand
  1. to test or locate the position of (a part of computer hardware)
  2. to read (data)

Word Origin for sense

C14: from Latin sēnsus, from sentīre to feel
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 senses

"mental faculties, conscious cognitive powers, sanity," 1560s, from sense (n.). Meaning "faculties of physical sensation" is from 1590s.



c.1400, "faculty of perception," also "meaning, import, interpretation" (especially of Holy Scripture), from Old French sens "one of the five senses; meaning; wit, understanding" (12c.) and directly from Latin sensus "perception, feeling, undertaking, meaning," from sentire "perceive, feel, know," probably a figurative use of a literally meaning "to find one's way," or "to go mentally," from PIE root *sent- "to go" (cf. Old High German sinnan "to go, travel, strive after, have in mind, perceive," German Sinn "sense, mind," Old English sið "way, journey," Old Irish set, Welsh hynt "way"). Application to any one of the external or outward senses (touch, sight, hearing, etc.) in English first recorded 1520s.

A certain negro tribe has a special word for "see;" but only one general word for "hear," "touch," "smell," and "taste." It matters little through which sense I realize that in the dark I have blundered into a pig-sty. In French "sentir" means to smell, to touch, and to feel, all together. [Erich M. von Hornbostel, "Die Einheit der Sinne" ("The Unity of the Senses"), 1927]

Meaning "that which is wise" is from c.1600. Meaning "capacity for perception and appreciation" is from c.1600 (e.g. Sense of humor, attested by 1783, sense of shame, 1640s).



"to perceive by the senses," 1590s, from sense (n.). Meaning "be conscious inwardly of (one's state or condition) is from 1680s. Meaning "perceive (a fact or situation) not by direct perception" is from 1872. Related: Sensed; sensing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

senses in Medicine




Any of the faculties by which stimuli from outside or inside the body are received and felt, as the faculties of hearing, sight, smell, touch, taste, and equilibrium.
A perception or feeling that is produced by a stimulus; sensation, as of hunger.


To become aware of; perceive.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with senses


see come to one's senses; horse sense; in a sense; lull into (a false sense of security); make sense; sixth sense; take leave of (one's senses); talk sense.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.