over·​sen·​si·​tive | \ ˌō-vər-ˈsen(t)-sə-tiv How to pronounce oversensitive (audio) , -ˈsen(t)s-təv \

Definition of oversensitive

: excessively sensitive: such as
a : too easily bothered, upset, offended, etc. an oversensitive person oversensitive about his looks She's oversensitive to criticism. It is not enough to say "I was only joking", and you ought not to suggest that the recipient is being oversensitive or thin-skinned.— Maureen Matthews
b : excessively or abnormally susceptible or responsive to a particular agent or stimulus (such as a drug, antigen, or sound) Many infants, they have found, are oversensitive … to such sensations as sound, touch, light.— D. Gelman In around 90 per cent of cases, rhinitis is caused by allergy. The immune system is oversensitive to substances such as pollen, firing off antibodies which should normally be reserved for infections.— Martin Scurr
c of an instrument or device : too responsive to or likely to register minute quantities, effects, etc. an oversensitive smoke detector an oversensitive microphone

Other Words from oversensitive

oversensitiveness \ ˌō-​vər-​ˈsen(t)-​sə-​tiv-​nəs How to pronounce oversensitiveness (audio) , -​ˈsen(t)s-​təv-​ \ noun
… he has not as yet overcome his youthful oversensitiveness and propensity to depression. — Erik Tawaststjerna
oversensitivity \ ˌō-​vər-​ˌsen(t)-​sə-​ˈti-​və-​tē How to pronounce oversensitivity (audio) \ noun
It's not unusual to feel dizzy or have problems balancing and an oversensitivity to light or noise. — Juliet McGrattan The 10- to 17-year-olds who were questioned in this survey felt they had a right to control their own digital footprint. Should these wishes be respected or dismissed as simply the oversensitivity of teenagers? — Gregory Ramey

First Known Use of oversensitive

1817, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of oversensitive was in 1817

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Cite this Entry

“Oversensitive.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oversensitive. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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How to pronounce oversensitive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of oversensitive

: too easily upset or offended
: acting or reacting too quickly

Comments on oversensitive

What made you want to look up oversensitive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


good-natured easy friendliness

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