[sen-si-tuh-zey-shuh n]
  1. the state or process of being sensitized.
  2. Psychology. the process of becoming susceptible to a given stimulus that previously had no effect or significance.
  3. Immunology.
    1. a state or condition in which a previously encountered foreign substance triggers an immune reaction.
    2. an immunologic state or condition that is evidenced by the acquired ability of a cell or individual to detect the presence of a foreign substance upon reexposure to the substance and to react immunologically.

Origin of sensitization

First recorded in 1885–90; sensitize + -ation
Related formsnon·sen·si·ti·za·tion, nounre·sen·si·ti·za·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sensitization

Historical Examples of sensitization

  • Various skin rashes and eruptions are likewise associated with sensitization to certain foods.

    Food Poisoning

    Edwin Oakes Jordan

  • Call the old tubercular diathesis a sensitization and you have made it the most modern of modern discoveries.

    The Treatment of Hay Fever

    George Frederick Laidlaw

  • What if gout should prove to be a sensitization or anaphylaxis to uric acid that does not exist in the non-gouty?

    The Treatment of Hay Fever

    George Frederick Laidlaw

Word Origin and History for sensitization

1862, originally in photography, noun of action from sensitize.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sensitization in Medicine


  1. The act or process of inducing an acquired sensitivity or allergy.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.