intuitive

adjective
in·​tu·​i·​tive | \ in-ˈtü-ə-tiv How to pronounce intuitive (audio) , -ˈtyü- \

Definition of intuitive

1 : possessing or given to intuition or insight an intuitive mind
2a : known or perceived by intuition : directly apprehended had an intuitive awareness of his sister's feelings
b : knowable by intuition intuitive truths
c : based on or agreeing with intuition intuitive responses makes intuitive sense
d : readily learned or understood software with an intuitive interface
3 : knowing or perceiving by intuition

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Other Words from intuitive

intuitively adverb
intuitiveness noun

Does intuitive have anything to do with a sixth sense?

Nowadays, we often see intuitive used in contexts pertaining to technology that is easy to understand. A smartphone with an “intuitive interface” is one that doesn't need much explaining; you can usually figure out how it works as soon as you fire it up.

The related noun intuition, meanwhile, describes a feeling of knowing or understanding something without evident rational thought and inference. A parent's intuition might tell him or her that a child is in danger, even if there is no logical reason to believe so.

So does intuitive have anything to do with what is often called the sixth sense? Well, the sixth sense is defined as "a keen intuitive power." It is synonymous with ESP or extrasensory perception. As its name implies, ESP describes a purported ability to know something that cannot be known by normal use of the senses.

The Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) used the term intuitive substage to refer to the stage of cognitive development when children have acquired a vast amount of knowledge but have not considered how they acquired it, so they accept it as true.

An interface is intuitive because it makes sense according to what we expect from how older interfaces are designed. A parent's intuitive sense of danger may still be prompted by subtle hints that things just aren't as they should be, even if the parent cannot identify exactly how. So while sixth sense refers to the ability to acquire knowledge from beyond the five senses, intuitive tends to apply more to knowledge absorbed through experience, even when not immediately recognized as such.

Examples of intuitive in a Sentence

The controls of an airplane are intuitive. Push to nose down, pull to nose up, turn left, turn right. — Stephan Wilkinson, Popular Science, December 2002 … but most of the literature was political rather than scientific, more interested in … exalting the irrational and intuitive over the rational and quantifiable. — Paddy Chayefsky, Artificial Paradises, (1978) 1999 Galileo had made an intuitive jump to what we now call Newton's first law of motion: a body in motion tends to remain in motion. — Leon Lederman et al., The God Particle, 1993 She has an intuitive mind. a doctor with an intuitive awareness of his patients' concerns The argument makes intuitive sense. The software has an intuitive interface.
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Recent Examples on the Web Changes can include everything from putting up colors that are calming and welcoming to easier, intuitive navigation and messaging that creates a sense of community. Rebecca Brooks, Forbes, "Brands Must Meet Shoppers Where They Will Be Tomorrow," 3 Mar. 2021 Fast, Simple, Clear, and Quiet: The intuitive single-button control design thermometer reads the temperature in just 1 second from a clear bright extra-large LED screen, even in total darkness. Maren Estrada, BGR, "1 million people bought this $60 forehead thermometer in 2020 – Amazon now has it for $25," 2 Mar. 2021 There's also a new 8.0-inch information display in the gauge cluster and a central 10.2-inch touchscreen, both of which are nicely rendered and intuitive to navigate. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Offers More for Less," 1 Mar. 2021 Unlike other kinds of juice, making watermelon juice is not all that intuitive without a few tools. Laura Wheatman Hill, chicagotribune.com, "How to make watermelon juice," 27 Feb. 2021 Although mathematically proficient in the manner of all theoretical physicists, Linde described himself to me as more intuitive than technical, a Steve Jobs more than a Steve Wozniak. Alan Lightman, The Atlantic, "‘It Seems That I Know How the Universe Originated’," 8 Feb. 2021 That process is not always intuitive — Puskoor and Neemuchwala know from personal experience. Dallas News, "Two trailblazing tech pioneers are working to seed the Texas-India business connection," 31 Jan. 2021 Although their formulation may not exactly change physics like the discoveries of Maxwell and Einstein, the theory could make the wave-particle duality of matter more intuitive, and give a new way of thinking about the universe. Tim Childers, Popular Mechanics, "New Theory Casually Upends Space and Time," 10 Dec. 2020 The normal switchgear and controls in the CT4 work better and are more intuitive. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2020 Cadillac CT4 450T Suffers from a Lack of Refinement," 8 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intuitive.' 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 intuitive

circa 1645, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for intuitive

see intuition

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Time Traveler for intuitive

Time Traveler

The first known use of intuitive was circa 1645

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Statistics for intuitive

Last Updated

6 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intuitive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intuitive. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for intuitive

intuitive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of intuitive

: having the ability to know or understand things without any proof or evidence : having or characterized by intuition
: based on or agreeing with what is known or understood without any proof or evidence : known or understood by intuition
: agreeing with what seems naturally right

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Comments on intuitive

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