pensive

adjective pen·sive \ ˈpen(t)-siv \
Updated on: 22 Nov 2017

Definition of pensive

1 : musingly or dreamily thoughtful
  • a pensive young poet
2 : suggestive of sad thoughtfulness
  • her face had the pensive mournfulness of a seraph in an old sad painting
  • —Herman Wouk

pensively

adverb

pensiveness

noun

Examples of pensive in a Sentence

  1. … the combination of national crisis and imminent electoral victory creates an atmosphere at once pensive and elated. —Yossi Klein HaleviNew Republic25 Dec. 2000
  2. We take in the synchronized swimming of sardines and the pensive patrol of a leopard shark. —Roger RosenblattTime5 Oct. 1998
  3. … did not seem depressed so much as pensive, and within a few minutes he was talking eagerly—in fact, unstoppably—about his favorite subject: school. —James TraubNew Yorker19 Dec. 1994
  4. The child sat by himself, looking pensive.

  5. rainy days often put her in a pensive mood

Recent Examples of pensive from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pensive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of pensive

Middle English pensif, from Anglo-French, from penser to think, from Latin pensare to ponder, frequentative of pendere to weigh — more at pendant


PENSIVE Defined for English Language Learners

pensive

adjective

Definition of pensive for English Language Learners

  • : quietly sad or thoughtful


PENSIVE Defined for Kids

pensive

adjective pen·sive \ ˈpen-siv \

Definition of pensive for Students

: lost in serious or sad thought
  • a pensive mood

pensively

adverb


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