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

Definition of insensitive

1a : lacking feeling or tact so insensitive as to laugh at someone in pain
b : not responsive or susceptible insensitive to the demands of the public
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 Some found the comments insensitive, or felt that Adams was pandering. Elizabeth Depompei, Indianapolis Star, "What you should know about U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and his Hoosier ties," 17 Apr. 2020 The restaurant’s name, Sum Dang Good Chinese, and questionable verbiage on the menu left some restaurant industry professionals cringing and calling it culturally insensitive and tone deaf. Claire Ballor, Dallas News, "Controversial Chinese restaurant opens in Trinity Groves," 2 Apr. 2020 The rapper had just been arrested US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and many found Demi's joke insensitive. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Demi Lovato Gets Extremely Personal About Her Past Struggles in the Lyrics to Her New Song "I Love Me"," 6 Mar. 2020 The protests, which spread among players on other teams across the NFL, were decried by some veterans and eventually by President Trump as insensitive and unpatriotic. Dominick Mastrangelo, Washington Examiner, "'Out of our range': XFL dismisses Colin Kaepernick salary requirements as 'exorbitant'," 11 Feb. 2020 Exhibited in the Whitney Biennial in 2017, the painting struck minority artists and activists as insensitive and exploitative, despite Schutz’s good intentions. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Tamir Rice fundraiser at museum showed how artists can deal ethically with racial tragedy: Year in Review 2019 – Steven Litt," 29 Dec. 2019 In the interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis, Andrew seemed insensitive and arrogant — particularly in an era in which social media has made even the rich and the powerful seem more accessible. Gregory Katz,, "Prince Andrew to step back from public duties after BBC interview about his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein," 20 Nov. 2019 Youths who ignore orders to shelter in place are cast as insensitive, short sighted, and foolish by media and politicians. Lisa Jacobs, STAT, "Adolescents and young adults are paying a high price for Covid-19 prevention," 27 Apr. 2020 If passed by the County Board, the ordinance would attempt to refocus county policies, particularly on hiring and programming, that may have been racially insensitive in the past. Ricardo Torres, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Addressing racial inequalities would drive budget decisions under proposed Milwaukee County ordinance," 2 Mar. 2020

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 1b

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Time Traveler for insensitive

Time Traveler

The first known use of insensitive was in 1834

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Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Insensitive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce insensitive (audio)

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

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