sense

noun
\ ˈsen(t)s How to pronounce sense (audio) \

Definition of sense

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : 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
2a : the faculty of perceiving by means of sense organs
b : 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
c : the sensory mechanisms constituting a unit distinct from other functions (such as movement or thought)
3 : conscious awareness or rationality usually used in pluralfinally came to his senses
4a : a particular sensation or kind or quality of sensation a good sense of balance
b : a definite but often vague awareness or impression felt a sense of insecurity a sense of danger
c : a motivating awareness a sense of shame
d : a discerning awareness and appreciation her sense of humor
5 : consensus the sense of the meeting
6a : capacity for effective application of the powers of the mind as a basis for action or response : intelligence
b : sound mental capacity and understanding typically marked by shrewdness and practicality also : agreement with or satisfaction of such power this decision makes sense
7 : one of two opposite directions especially of motion (as of a point, line, or surface)

sense

verb
sensed; sensing

Definition of sense (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to perceive by the senses (see sense entry 1 sense 2)
b : to be or become conscious of sense danger
3 : to detect automatically especially in response to a physical stimulus (such as light or movement)

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Synonyms for sense

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for sense

Noun

sense, common sense, judgment, wisdom mean ability to reach intelligent conclusions. sense implies a reliable ability to judge and decide with soundness, prudence, and intelligence. a choice showing good sense common sense suggests an average degree of such ability without sophistication or special knowledge. common sense tells me it's wrong judgment implies sense tempered and refined by experience, training, and maturity. they relied on her judgment for guidance wisdom implies sense and judgment far above average. a leader of rare wisdom

Examples of sense in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In recent years, researchers have created ELMs that sense pressure, kill dangerous bacteria, and sense light. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "‘Frankenstein’ material can self-heal, reproduce," 15 Jan. 2020 Adding the auxiliary travel lanes is a common-sense solution to the weaving issue that leads to rear-end and side-swiping accidents, ODOT says. oregonlive, "Rose Quarter project would likely exceed $1 billion if freeway caps are expanded, reinforced," 15 Jan. 2020 And if his schizophrenia diagnosis was accurate, this makes sense. cincinnati.com, "Accused podcast, Season 3, Chapter 6: Last day laid bare," 14 Jan. 2020 The almost eerie sense of calm on Wall Street -- a phenomenon that some have dubbed a market melt-up -- could last for the foreseeable future. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "How to stay invested if you're a worrier," 13 Jan. 2020 In a sense, that’s what happened with the recent Google paper. Christie Aschwanden, Wired, "Artificial Intelligence Makes Bad Medicine Even Worse," 10 Jan. 2020 In the opening sequence of The Simpsons, Homer handles nuclear material from inside a hazmat suit, which makes sense, since nuclear power plants have small amounts of fuel that are kept in enclosed reactors. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "So ... What Actually Happens Inside a Hot Cell?," 8 Jan. 2020 No sense pondering how many more Super Bowls Dallas might have won if Johnson hadn’t left after back-to-back titles. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, "Where does Jason Garrett stand in the history of Cowboys head coaches? Tim Cowlishaw ranks them all," 6 Jan. 2020 In the immediate and practical sense, news and fake news became a distinction without a difference. Greg Jackson, Harper's magazine, "Vicious Cycles," 6 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tryon senses my concern and assures me there’s nothing to worry about. Jordan Runtagh, PEOPLE.com, "The Storming of Area 51: A Covert Journey to the Heart of America’s Worst-Kept Secret," 13 Jan. 2020 Junior forward Xavier Tillman, who also had himself a game — 20 points, 11 rebounds — sensed early Sunday was different for Winston. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Cassius Winston’s cathartic domination of Michigan shows one thing: He’s back," 6 Jan. 2020 Knowing how popular the book had been, May sensed an opportunity to turn his luck around. Michelle Delgado, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Magical Animation of ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’," 23 Dec. 2019 While instructing Ben, Luke senses the dark side emerge in his padawan and goes to kill him to prevent a menacing future. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Who are the Knights of Ren? Unmasking Kylo's troupe in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," 21 Dec. 2019 In charge of innovation at the hospital, Ginn sensed an opportunity to improve the system by using drone deliveries to avoid traffic tie-ups, long courier routes, and other delays. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "This Drone Delivery Service Was Dreamed Up By a Doctor Who Used to Be a Pilot," 20 Dec. 2019 Jedi and Sith sense other similar disturbances in the Force throughout the entire saga! Megan Mccluskey, Time, "Breaking Down That Shocking Rey Reveal in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," 20 Dec. 2019 In the fourth quarter, after the Shamrocks connected on a 96-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 21-6, the Male sideline could sense the game was slipping away. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "Male falls to Trinity in Class 6A state title game, its first loss in over a year," 8 Dec. 2019 Trubisky senses the pocket, feels pressure and reacts accordingly. Rich Campbell, chicagotribune.com, "5 observations from rewatching the Bears’ win over the Cowboys, including Mitch Trubisky running wild and appreciating Allen Robinson," 7 Dec. 2019

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1b

History and Etymology for sense

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French sen, sens sensation, feeling, mechanism of perception, meaning, from Latin sensus, from sentire to perceive, feel; perhaps akin to Old High German sinnan to go, strive, Old English sith journey — more at send

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Time Traveler for sense

Time Traveler

The first known use of sense was in the 14th century

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Statistics for sense

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sense.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sense. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for sense

sense

noun
How to pronounce sense (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sense

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one of the five natural powers (touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing) through which you receive information about the world around you
: a physical feeling : something that your body experiences
: a particular feeling : an emotion that you are aware of

sense

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sense (Entry 2 of 2)

: to understand or be aware of (something) without being told about it or having evidence that it is true
of a machine : to detect the presence or occurrence of (something)

sense

noun
\ ˈsens How to pronounce sense (audio) \

Kids Definition of sense

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a specialized function or mechanism (as sight, taste, or touch) of the body that involves the action and effect of a stimulus on a sense organ
2 : awareness arrived at through or as if through the senses He felt a sense of danger.
3 : a particular sensation or kind of sensation I lost my sense of balance.
4 : the ability to make wise decisions
5 : an awareness or understanding of something a sense of humor a sense of pride
6 : a reason or excuse based on intelligence or good judgment There is no sense in continuing.
7 : a logical, sensible, or practical thing, act, or way of doing Saving money for the future makes sense.
8 : a meaning or one of a set of meanings a word, phrase, or story may have

sense

verb
sensed; sensing

Kids Definition of sense (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be or become aware of My cat can sense the approach of a storm.

sense

noun
\ ˈsen(t)s How to pronounce sense (audio) \

Medical Definition of sense

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the faculty of perceiving by means of sense organs
b : a specialized function or mechanism (as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch) by which an animal receives and responds to external or internal stimuli
c : the sensory mechanisms constituting a unit distinct from other functions (as movement or thought)
2 : a particular sensation or kind or quality of sensation a good sense of balance
sensed; sensing

Medical Definition of sense (Entry 2 of 2)

: to perceive by the senses

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More from Merriam-Webster on sense

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sense

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sense

Spanish Central: Translation of sense

Nglish: Translation of sense for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sense for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sense

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