sen·​sa·​tion·​al | \ sen-ˈsā-shnəl How to pronounce sensational (audio) , -shə-nᵊl\

Definition of sensational

1 : of or relating to sensation or the senses
2 : arousing or tending to arouse (as by lurid details) a quick, intense, and usually superficial interest, curiosity, or emotional reaction sensational tabloid news
3 : exceedingly or unexpectedly excellent or great a sensational talent

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Other Words from sensational

sensationally adverb

Examples of sensational in a Sentence

She looked sensational in her new dress. the sensational news story caused a stir, but after a few days everyone forgot about it

Recent Examples on the Web

Each study was sponsored by big corporate backers like Airblade-makers Dyson and the European Tissue Symposium, and each used dodgy methodology to smear the competition and drum up sensational headlines. James Vincent, The Verge, "A paper towel dispenser with an end-user license agreement is a special kind of hell," 20 June 2019 Her life was chronicled in sensational headlines from her childhood through four marriages and three divorces. Ula Ilnytzky,, "Heiress, socialite and fashion pioneer Gloria Vanderbilt dies at 95," 17 June 2019 The Clippers’ sensational sixth man missed his first three shots. Andrew Greif,, "Clippers’ Lou Williams could have a record-tying night at NBA Awards," 24 June 2019 Last year's sensational rescue was initially led only by Thailand's navy SEALs but the task proved extremely difficult. NBC News, "Thai soccer team marks anniversary of cave ordeal with run," 23 June 2019 Not, however, for acting, but for a decade of sensational productions in opera, theatre and film. The Economist, "Obituary: Franco Zeffirelli died on June 15th," 21 June 2019 The moniker, which kicked off her life in the spotlight, was thanks to a sensational custody battle waged by her grandmother and aunt against her birth mother. Sangeeta Singh-kurtz, Quartzy, "Gloria Vanderbilt, American heiress and jeans queen, has died at 95," 17 June 2019 Often one element is noticeably compromised: the ideas are watered down, or the story is sensational rather than deeply felt, no more than a soap opera or a boy’s adventure. Caleb Crain, The New York Review of Books, "Idea Man," 17 June 2019 While famously hilly, San Francisco rewards cyclists with stellar views and sensational cuisine. Mark Jenkins, National Geographic, "Biking is the best way to see a city—and it’s good for the planet," 12 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sensational.' 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 sensational

1807, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for sensational

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for sensational

The first known use of sensational was in 1807

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More Definitions for sensational



English Language Learners Definition of sensational

: causing very great excitement or interest with shocking details
: very excellent or great
informal : very attractive


sen·​sa·​tion·​al | \ sen-ˈsā-shə-nᵊl How to pronounce sensational (audio) \

Kids Definition of sensational

1 : causing or meant to cause great interest a sensational crime
2 : very or unexpectedly excellent

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Comments on sensational

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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