over·​sen·​si·​tive ˌō-vər-ˈsen(t)-sə-tiv How to pronounce oversensitive (audio)
: excessively sensitive: such as
: 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
: 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
of an instrument or device : too responsive to or likely to register minute quantities, effects, etc.
an oversensitive smoke detector
an oversensitive microphone
oversensitiveness noun
… he has not as yet overcome his youthful oversensitiveness and propensity to depression. Erik Tawaststjerna
oversensitivity 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

Examples of oversensitive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The 8th and 9th are full of good energy, but everyone seems to be feeling oversensitive near the 13th. Katharine Merlin, Town & Country, 1 Sep. 2023 These young ideas rarely do — and the invaluable lesson that students glean from that realization will be lost forever if administrators cut them off at the knees by continuing to appease oversensitive cry-bullies whose antics threaten these vital sandboxes. Brian Anderson, National Review, 12 Sep. 2020 My Feelings’ is that the entire movie turns into a satire of what has become our fetishistically supportive and oversensitive therapeutic culture of positivity. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 16 May 2023 Can people be oversensitive? Clay Cane, CNN, 5 Apr. 2023 Automated software looks for moving blips of light, checks them against possible false positives like subatomic particles from space zapping the detector, oversensitive pixels, and the like. Phil Plait, Scientific American, 31 Mar. 2023 Suzanne Cryer as the oversensitive poet and Cedric Yarbrough as the professor who refuses to indulge her are amusing, and so is Shannon DeVido as a film professor whose response to Saunders is a hoot. Matthew Gilbert, BostonGlobe.com, 15 Mar. 2023 Students are often accused of being oversensitive, but Professor Wax’s colleagues have shared their own uncomfortable moments with her in public forums. Vimal Patel, New York Times, 13 Mar. 2023 Alden Ehrenreich, as Liotta’s son, plays it all as tongue-in-cheek weepy and oversensitive. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 23 Feb. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oversensitive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1817, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of oversensitive was in 1817

Dictionary Entries Near oversensitive

Cite this Entry

“Oversensitive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oversensitive. Accessed 29 May. 2024.

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