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 There are a few simple lessons here. Don’t expect your audience to learn the rules. Tweak them, so figuring out the game’s language becomes intuitive. Los Angeles Times, "You can play video games with your cat — yes, your cat! Here’s how," 8 May 2020 The session is unsatisfying; the psychic can’t understand this scientific approach to a process that, to her, is totally intuitive. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "Kathleen Collins’s Otherworldly Women," 20 Apr. 2020 There are some things about quantum mechanics that are very strange and very counter-intuitive. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Alex Garland talks quantum physics, mortality, and Devs," 16 Apr. 2020 The haptic controls and the menus of the infotainment and HVAC screen take a little getting used to, but with a little familiarity, the functions become intuitive. David Beard, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2020 Audi S7 Asks if Looks Matter," 13 Apr. 2020 At the time, it was considered counter-intuitive to how warehouses were traditionally run -- for example, toys are not stored with other toys; books are not with other books. Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN, "How to be a more ethical Amazon shopper during the pandemic," 10 Apr. 2020 Because of their natural habitat in dark, icy waters, belugas remain somewhat mysterious to scientists in many ways — but they are widely regarded as extremely intuitive and sensitive, with excellent communication skills. Hillary Richard, New York Times, "Doing the Bump With the Belugas," 11 May 2020 The whole picture Brain research unlocks a gendered difference in the way men and women process information, showing us that women use both the logical and intuitive parts of their brain. NBC News, "Do women lead differently during a crisis?," 8 May 2020 Both app and product design are sleek, seamless, and intuitive. Popular Science, "Easy-to-use multi-cookers for fast, delicious meals," 29 Apr. 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

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intuitive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intuitive. Accessed 5 Jun. 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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