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adjective sen·si·tive \ˈsen(t)-sə-tiv, ˈsen(t)s-təv\

Simple Definition of sensitive

  • : easily upset by the things that people think or say about you

  • : likely to cause people to become upset

  • : aware of and understanding the feelings of other people

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of sensitive

  1. 1 :  sensory 2

  2. 2a :  receptive to sense impressionsb :  capable of being stimulated or excited by external agents (as light, gravity, or contact) <sensitive cells>

  3. 3 :  highly responsive or susceptible: asa (1) :  easily hurt or damaged; especially :  easily hurt emotionally (2) :  delicately aware of the attitudes and feelings of othersb :  excessively or abnormally susceptible :  hypersensitive <sensitive to egg protein>c :  readily fluctuating in price or demand <sensitive commodities>d :  capable of indicating minute differences :  delicate <sensitive scales>e :  readily affected or changed by various agents (as light or mechanical shock) <a photographic emulsion sensitive to red light>f :  highly radiosensitive

  4. 4a :  concerned with highly classified government information or involving discretionary authority over important policy matters <sensitive documents>b :  calling for tact, care, or caution in treatment :  touchy <a sensitive issue like race relations>

  5. 5 :  having or showing concern for a specified matter —usually used in combination <a price-sensitive customer> <environmentally sensitive policies>





Examples of sensitive in a sentence

  1. He acts like a tough guy, but he's really very sensitive to criticism.

  2. I found him to be a sensitive and caring person.

Origin and Etymology of sensitive

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin sensitivus, probably alteration of sensativus, from sensatus sensate

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of sensitive

liable, open, exposed, subject, prone, susceptible, sensitive mean being by nature or through circumstances likely to experience something adverse. liable implies a possibility or probability of incurring something because of position, nature, or particular situation <liable to get lost>. open stresses a lack of barriers preventing incurrence <a claim open to question>. exposed suggests lack of protection or powers of resistance against something actually present or threatening <exposed to infection>. subject implies an openness for any reason to something that must be suffered or undergone <all reports are subject to review>. prone stresses natural tendency or propensity to incur something <prone to delay>. susceptible implies conditions existing in one's nature or individual constitution that make incurrence probable <very susceptible to flattery>. sensitive implies a readiness to respond to or be influenced by forces or stimuli <unduly sensitive to criticism>.

Both liable and apt when followed by an infinitive are used nearly interchangeably with likely. Although conflicting advice has been given over the years, most current commentators accept apt when so used. They generally recommend limiting liable to situations having an undesirable outcome, and our evidence shows that in edited writing it is more often so used than not.



noun sen·si·tive

Definition of sensitive

  1. 1 :  a person having occult or psychical abilities

  2. 2 :  a sensitive person


First Known Use of sensitive


SENSITIVE Defined for Kids


adjective sen·si·tive \ˈsen-sə-tiv\

Definition of sensitive for Students

  1. 1 :  easily or strongly affected, impressed, or hurt <a sensitive child>

  2. 2 :  likely to affect, impress, or hurt <a sensitive topic>

  3. 3 :  understanding of the feelings of others

  4. 4 :  capable of responding to stimulation <sensitive structures of the ear>

  5. 5 :  readily affected or changed often in an unpleasant or negative way <I have sensitive skin.>



Medical Dictionary


adjective sen·si·tive \ˈsen(t)-sət-iv, ˈsen(t)-stiv\

Medical Definition of sensitive

  1. 1:  sensory 2 <sensitive nerves>

  2. 2a:  receptive to sense impressionsb:  capable of being stimulated or excited by external agents (as light, gravity, or contact) <a photographic emulsion sensitive to red light> <sensitive protoplasm>

  3. 3:  highly responsive or susceptible: asa:  easily hurt or damaged <sensitive skin>; especially :  easily hurt emotionallyb:  excessively or abnormally susceptible :  hypersensitive <sensitive to egg protein>c:  capable of indicating minute differences <sensitive scales>d:  readily affected or changed by various agents (as light or mechanical shock) <a sensitive colloid>



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