: a meaning conveyed or intended : import, signification
especially : one of a set of meanings a word or phrase may bear especially as segregated in a dictionary entry
: the faculty of perceiving by means of sense organs
: a specialized function or mechanism (such as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch) by which an animal receives and responds to external or internal stimuli
: the sensory mechanisms constituting a unit distinct from other functions (such as movement or thought)
: a particular sensation or kind or quality of sensation
a good sense of balance
: a definite but often vague awareness or impression
felt a sense of insecurity
a sense of danger
: a motivating awareness
a sense of shame
: a discerning awareness and appreciation
her sense of humor
: capacity for effective application of the powers of the mind as a basis for action or response : intelligence
: sound mental capacity and understanding typically marked by shrewdness and practicality
also : agreement with or satisfaction of such power
this decision makes sense
: one of two opposite directions especially of motion (as of a point, line, or surface)
: to perceive by the senses (see sense entry 1 sense 2)
: to be or become conscious of
Noun There is an unnerving sense now that technology is driving the culture rather than the reverse. Machines and sites and software are breeding at an exponential clip, and we hapless humans race around trying to adapt. —Steven Johnson, Discover, July 2006 The caricature of neurotic nuns who specialized in corporal punishment and guilt crumbles before the countless examples of women religious who made the difference in determining that a child would eat, or be safe, or have any sense of dignity at all. —Luke Timothy Johnson, Commonweal, 22 Sept. 2006 Because Updike shrinks from giving any real credence to the ideology that drives his plot (in both senses of that word), the book becomes a temporarily enthralling, but ultimately empty shaggy dog story. —Jonathan Raban, New York Review of Books, 13 July 2006 Less distinguished people experience a similar tangling of the senses, some reporting that they can taste the words they speak or see the colors of certain words or numbers. This confounding of perception—called synesthesia—was thought to affect at most about 4 percent of the population, but University College London psychologist Jamie Ward has uncovered the best evidence yet that we may all have a bit of synesthesia. —Kathryn Garfield, Discover, December 2006 All of my senses were on the alert for danger. We had a sense that something wasn't quite right. His senses were clear despite his illness. Verb The latest feature on air conditioners is a big new plug to help prevent fires. The plug shuts down power when it senses that the air conditioner cord is damaged. —Consumer Reports, July 2005 With very little provocation, magic might have been flying back and forth in an unpleasant and damaging manner. Sensing the danger, Kate stepped between them and raised her hands. "Let us have no more of this. There is a confusion to be cleared up, and I cannot do that in the middle of a brannigan," she said. —John Morressy, Fantasy & Science Fiction, October/November 2004 In Pecnik, he had instantly sensed a kindred spirit. As a boy Pecnik had strapped homemade parachutes to hamsters and tossed them (without harm) from his sixth-story bedroom window; by the time he joined the Croatian national team he was making his own jumpsuits. —William Speed Weed, Popular Science, July 2003 She immediately sensed my dislike. A motion detector can sense movement. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
NounShe was told how taking part in drama classes at the Actors' Church has helped the women with their healing, giving them a sense of community and belonging. —Simon Perry, Peoplemag, 17 May 2023 Gabriela Hearst has always gravitated toward designs with a sense of purpose. —Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 17 May 2023 The difficulty, the risks involved, the discomfort of being cooped up in the ball with Barton—all that sharpened his sense of contingency and interconnectedness. —Brad Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 May 2023 But today, Sanctuary is unveiling something that indicates a substantial amount of progress toward this goal: Phoenix, a new bipedal humanoid robot designed to do manual (in the sense of hand-dependent) labor. —IEEE Spectrum, 16 May 2023 One factor leading some senators to favor an expeditious approach to legislation is a sense that Congress failed to take action early enough in response to the spread of social media years ago. —Christopher Hutton, Washington Examiner, 16 May 2023 For a sense of how enormous that is, consider this. —Nina Burleigh, The New Republic, 16 May 2023 For a sense of whether election-denying candidates still hold sway within the GOP, keep an eye on the secretary of state race in Kentucky, where Republican incumbent Michael Adams is facing two primary challengers who have campaigned on voter fraud claims. —Ben Kamisar, NBC News, 16 May 2023 Lyrically, the song’s subject is mired in self-recrimination and despair, pleading with a lover to leave in order to find their own freedom, engendering a sense of angst and selflessness. —Jessica Nicholson, Billboard, 15 May 2023
VerbThere are people — this critic included — who will watch this scene and immediately sense with a hungry tingle that the film to come has been made expressly for their palate, and there is everyone else. —Guy Lodge, Variety, 24 May 2023 If you get called away, the base automatically shuts off if no movement is sensed after 10 minutes, so there’s no fear of inadvertently leaving it on. —Good Housekeeping, 6 May 2023 All the while, Bradford has sensed the importance for contemporary audiences of attaching stories to his work. —Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 5 May 2023 Zutshi says magnetic resonance is harmless, but the charger senses when any living animal gets within 1.25 inches of the pad. —Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 4 May 2023 The failure in the crisis that people sense is that the institutions were not fully operational and didn't know what to do. —Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 25 Apr. 2023 For instance, the genomes of these specimens showed an advanced ability to metabolize and store fats and to sense temperatures, which only increased over time. —Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 15 Apr. 2023 Teva is clever enough to sense that all of these problems are connected, but nobody else in the Republic is getting it at all. —Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 29 Mar. 2023 The second type is parents who sense that something is wrong with their child but don’t know what to do or who to turn to for help. —Jillian Peterson, CNN, 28 Mar. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sense.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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