Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

sensitive

[sen-si-tiv]
See more synonyms for sensitive on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. endowed with sensation; having perception through the senses.
  2. readily or excessively affected by external agencies or influences.
  3. having acute mental or emotional sensibility; aware of and responsive to the feelings of others.
  4. easily pained, annoyed, etc.
  5. pertaining to or connected with the senses or sensation.
  6. Physiology. having a low threshold of sensation or feeling.
  7. responding to stimuli, as leaves that move when touched.
  8. highly responsive to certain agents, as photographic plates, films, or paper.
  9. affected or likely to be affected by a specified stimulus (used in combination): price-sensitive markets.
  10. involving work, duties, or information of a highly secret or delicate nature, especially in government: a sensitive position in the State Department.
  11. requiring tact or caution; delicate; touchy: a sensitive topic.
  12. constructed to indicate, measure, or be affected by small amounts or changes, as a balance or thermometer.
  13. Radio. easily affected by external influences, especially by radio waves.
Show More
noun
  1. a person who is sensitive.
  2. a person with psychic powers; medium.
Show More

Origin of sensitive

1350–1400; < Medieval Latin sēnsitīvus, irregular formation on Latin sēns-, past participle stem of sentīre to sense (see -ive); replacing Middle English sensitif(e) < Middle French sensitif, sensitive < Medieval Latin, as above
Related formssen·si·tive·ly, adverbnon·sen·si·tive, adjectivenon·sen·si·tive·ly, adverbnon·sen·si·tive·ness, nounul·tra·sen·si·tive, adjectiveul·tra·sen·si·tive·ly, adverbun·sen·si·tive, adjectiveun·sen·si·tive·ly, adverbun·sen·si·tive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sensitive

tricky, precise, tense, keen, susceptible, nervous, receptive, conscious, touchy, perceptive, unstable, delicate, responsive, emotional, hypersensitive, painful, knowing, seeing, acute, psychic

Examples from the Web for sensitive

Contemporary Examples of sensitive

Historical Examples of sensitive

  • "Now you are angry with me," exclaimed the sensitive maiden; and she burst into tears.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • For a man's heart is sensitive in proportion to its greatness.

  • Had Cornelius been sensitive, he must have felt he was omitted.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Her sensitive nostrils dilated, her brain worked like a machine.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • He was a sensitive man, and did not realize that others were sometimes as shy as himself.


British Dictionary definitions for sensitive

sensitive

adjective
  1. having the power of sensation
  2. responsive to or aware of feelings, moods, reactions, etc
  3. easily irritated; delicatesensitive skin
  4. affected by external conditions or stimuli
  5. easily offended
  6. of or relating to the senses or the power of sensation
  7. capable of registering small differences or changes in amounts, quality, etca sensitive instrument
  8. photog having a high sensitivitya sensitive emulsion
  9. connected with matters affecting national security, esp through access to classified information
  10. (of a stock market or prices) quickly responsive to external influences and thus fluctuating or tending to fluctuate
Show More
Derived Formssensitively, adverbsensitiveness, noun

Word Origin for sensitive

C14: from Medieval Latin sēnsitīvus, from Latin 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 sensitive

adj.

late 14c., in reference to the body or its parts, "having the function of sensation;" also (early 15c.) "pertaining to the faculty of the soul that receives and analyzes sensory information;" from Old French sensitif "capable of feeling" (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin sensitivus "capable of sensation," from Latin sensus, past participle of sentire "feel perceive" (see sense (n.)).

Meaning "easily affected" (with reference to mental feelings) first recorded 1816; meaning "having intense physical sensation" is from 1849. Original meaning is preserved in sensitive plant (1630s), which is "mechanically irritable in a higher degree than almost any other plant" [Century Dictionary]. Meaning "involving national security" is recorded from 1953. Related: Sensitively; sensitiveness.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sensitive in Medicine

sensitive

(sĕnsĭ-tĭv)
adj.
  1. Capable of perceiving with a sense or senses.
  2. Responsive to a stimulus.
  3. Susceptible to the attitudes, feelings, or circumstances of others.
  4. Easily irritated or inflamed, especially due to previous exposure to an antigen.
  5. Relating to, or characterizing a sensitized antigen.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.