a person who is sensitive.
a person with psychic powers; medium.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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.


    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.


    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



having the power of sensation
responsive to or aware of feelings, moods, reactions, etc
easily irritated; delicatesensitive skin
affected by external conditions or stimuli
easily offended
of or relating to the senses or the power of sensation
capable of registering small differences or changes in amounts, quality, etca sensitive instrument
photog having a high sensitivitya sensitive emulsion
connected with matters affecting national security, esp through access to classified information
(of a stock market or prices) quickly responsive to external influences and thus fluctuating or tending to fluctuate
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

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sensitive in Medicine




Capable of perceiving with a sense or senses.
Responsive to a stimulus.
Susceptible to the attitudes, feelings, or circumstances of others.
Easily irritated or inflamed, especially due to previous exposure to an antigen.
Relating to, or characterizing a sensitized antigen.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.