intuitive

play
adjective in·tu·i·tive \in-ˈtü-ə-tiv, -ˈtyü-\

Definition of intuitive

  1. 1 a :  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>

  2. 2 :  knowing or perceiving by intuition

  3. 3 :  possessing or given to intuition or insight <an intuitive mind>

intuitively

adverb

intuitiveness

noun

Examples of intuitive in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. … 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

  4. She has an intuitive mind.

  5. a doctor with an intuitive awareness of his patients' concerns

  6. The argument makes intuitive sense.

  7. The software has an intuitive interface.

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.

Origin and Etymology of intuitive

(see intuition)


First Known Use: circa 1645


INTUITIVE Defined for English Language Learners

intuitive

play
adjective in·tu·i·tive \in-ˈtü-ə-tiv, -ˈtyü-\

Definition of intuitive for English Language Learners

  • : 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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