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pensive

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adjective pen·sive \ˈpen(t)-siv\

Simple Definition of pensive

  • : quietly sad or thoughtful

Full Definition of pensive

  1. 1 :  musingly or dreamily thoughtful

  2. 2 :  suggestive of sad thoughtfulness

pen·sive·ly adverb
pen·sive·ness noun

Examples of pensive

  1. … the combination of national crisis and imminent electoral victory creates an atmosphere at once pensive and elated. —Yossi Klein Halevi, New Republic, 25 Dec. 2000

  2. We take in the synchronized swimming of sardines and the pensive patrol of a leopard shark. —Roger Rosenblatt, Time, 5 Oct. 1998

  3. … did not seem depressed so much as pensive, and within a few minutes he was talking eagerly—in fact, unstoppably—about his favorite subject: school. —James Traub, New Yorker, 19 Dec. 1994

  4. The child sat by himself, looking pensive.

  5. <rainy days often put her in a pensive mood>



Origin of pensive

Middle English pensif, from Anglo-French, from penser to think, from Latin pensare to ponder, frequentative of pendere to weigh — more at pendant


First Known Use: 14th century



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