[sen-shuh nt ‐shee-uh nt ‐tee-uh nt]


having the power of perception by the senses; conscious.
characterized by sensation and consciousness.


a person or thing that is sentient.
Archaic. the conscious mind.

Origin of sentient

1595–1605; < Latin sentient- (stem of sentiēns, present participle of sentīre to feel), equivalent to senti- verb stem + -ent- -ent
Related formssen·tient·ly, adverbnon·sen·tient, adjectivenon·sen·tient·ly, adverbun·sen·tient, adjectiveun·sen·tient·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sentient

Contemporary Examples of sentient

Historical Examples of sentient

  • It was sentient, it was alive and aware and waiting, and it was listening.

  • As usual he addressed the dog as though he were a sentient being.


    Eliot H. Robinson

  • It came to me just now like a sentient thing—like something human.

    The Shadow World

    Hamlin Garland

  • Of all sentient creatures in that deluge he was suffering most.


    George Washington Cable

  • What if some other awareness did inhabit the universe, sentient—and lonely?

    Eight Keys to Eden

    Mark Irvin Clifton

British Dictionary definitions for sentient



having the power of sense perception or sensation; conscious


rare a sentient person or thing
Derived Formssentiently, adverb

Word Origin for sentient

C17: from Latin sentiēns feeling, from sentīre to perceive
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 sentient

1630s, "capable of feeling," from Latin sentientem (nominative sentiens) "feeling," present participle of sentire "to feel" (see sense (n.)). Meaning "conscious" (of something) is from 1815.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for sentient


[sĕnshənt, -shē-ənt]


Having sense perception; conscious.
Experiencing sensation or feeling.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.