in·​sen·​si·​tive | \ (ˌ)in-ˈsen(t)-s(ə-)tiv How to pronounce insensitive (audio) \

Definition of insensitive

1a : not responsive or susceptible insensitive to the demands of the public
b : lacking feeling or tact so insensitive as to laugh at someone in pain
2 : not physically or chemically sensitive

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Other Words from insensitive

insensitively adverb
insensitiveness noun
insensitivity \ (ˌ)in-​ˌsen(t)-​sə-​ˈti-​və-​tē How to pronounce insensitivity (audio) \ noun

Examples of insensitive in a Sentence

He's just a rude, insensitive jerk. It was insensitive of her to say that.

Recent Examples on the Web

Not Meeting the Needs of Native Youth Eric Stegman (Carry the Kettle First Nation), executive director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, said that other culturally-insensitive events happen everyday to Native youth. Teen Vogue, "New Mexico Teacher Accused of Calling a Native Student a "Bloody Indian" and Cutting Another's Hair on Halloween," 3 Dec. 2018 At Yale, tensions came to a head over the issue of racially insensitive Halloween costumes. Newsweek, "December 25 Issue," 25 Dec. 2017 Netflix chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland is leaving the company following a controversy over insensitive remarks. NBC News, "Netflix exec Jonathan Friedland out over alleged N-word use," 23 June 2018 King has a history of making racially insensitive remarks about immigrants. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Is Trump losing his support in Congress for separating families at the border?," 19 June 2018 Especially with the current #MeToo movement, these types of costumes are straight-up insensitive. Marci Robin, Good Housekeeping, "15 Offensive Halloween Costumes You Should Never Wear," 1 Aug. 2018 Blackamoor art and jewelry romanticizes the times of slavery and is considered racially insensitive today. Meghan Markle, Fox News, "Princess Michael of Kent reportedly had two black sheep named Venus and Serena," 28 Apr. 2018 His language is hurtful, insensitive, privileged and exclusionary. P.j. O’rourke, WSJ, "Five Best: P.J. O’Rourke on Political Satires," 27 Sep. 2018 The video has been deemed by many as deeply insensitive, due to the historic political tensions between the nations of Russia and Ukraine, but the Sun report that Vida will face no action from FIFA., "Croatia Defender Escapes Ban for England Clash After Posting Controversial Video on Social Media," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insensitive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of insensitive

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for insensitive

The first known use of insensitive was in 1834

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English Language Learners Definition of insensitive

: showing that you do not know or care about the feelings of other people
: not responding to or caring about problems, changes, or needs
: not greatly affected by something


in·​sen·​si·​tive | \ in-ˈsen-sə-tiv How to pronounce insensitive (audio) \

Kids Definition of insensitive

1 : lacking feeling : not sensitive He's insensitive to pain.
2 : not caring or showing concern about the problems or feelings of others an insensitive remark

Other Words from insensitive

insensitively adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on insensitive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for insensitive

Spanish Central: Translation of insensitive

Nglish: Translation of insensitive for Spanish Speakers

Comments on insensitive

What made you want to look up insensitive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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