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 As a water sign, those born under Cancer are very intuitive and feel at peace by the water. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "Where To Travel In 2020 Based On Your Zodiac Sign," 11 Jan. 2020 Yet there’s no shooter to replace Seth Curry, no playmaker quite like Evan Turner, and no cutter as intuitive as Jake Layman. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Rather Than Separate Their Stars, the Blazers Bet on Their Foundation," 19 July 2019 Navigating the pen isn't quite as intuitive as writing with them was. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "Benefit's New Clicky Pen Is the Secret to Easy Instagram Brows," 7 Aug. 2018 Camera technology is getting smaller, cheaper, and more intuitive to set up and use, meaning peace of mind around has become simpler to achieve. Popular Science, "Home security cameras that offer peace of mind (and perhaps the occasional raccoon footage)," 6 Jan. 2020 An appreciation for the graceful shape of a recurve or longbow is intuitive in people of all ages and instills the urge to brace an arrow and let one fly. The Editors, Outdoor Life, "Three Ways to Get Kids Interested in Archery," 20 Nov. 2019 Holistic nutritionists do a six-month training, functional-nutrition practitioners do an 80-hour training, and intuitive health coaches do a 200-hour training. ​molly Hurford, Outside Online, "What Exactly Is a Nutritionist?," 17 Dec. 2019 The intuitive is part of the city's push to exceed goals set by the 2006 California Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires the state to reduce emissions to 1990s level by next year. Fox News, "California city offers free fruit trees to curb greenhouse gas emissions," 10 Oct. 2019 One reason for this theory’s popularity is that unlike many things that sound intuitive in economics, this thing has an aura of bona de truth about it. The Economist, "Smashed like avocados: how young people are treated by their elders," 10 July 2019

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

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intuitive.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intuitive?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=i&file=intuit07. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for intuitive

intuitive

adjective
How to pronounce intuitive (audio)

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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