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 Not to get too deep, but Teigen’s and Lovato’s experimenting with candy-colored hair right now makes so much sense. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Chrissy Teigen Looks Incredible With Bright Purple Hair," 11 Jan. 2021 This sense of process—that fascism is a living thing and not some page copied out of a history book—is useful. Katie Mcdonough, The New Republic, "Die Laughing at the Capitol," 11 Jan. 2021 Many of those who went through the process of being inoculated still recall the sense of elation the vaccine brought, even if the reality wasn’t as smooth as memory might suggest. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Throughout history, mass vaccine rollouts have been beset by problems," 10 Jan. 2021 Common sense says Pittsburgh would be a heavier favorite. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "If Browns win, it will be one of the biggest upsets in team history – Terry Pluto’s Pregame Scribbles," 10 Jan. 2021 In case this crazy year has triggered some long-term memory loss, this collection of players represent some of the best at their positions in both the historical and present sense. Luke Johnson, NOLA.com, "The Saints begin another playoff push against the Bears. Here are 5 things you should know," 9 Jan. 2021 Sometimes what’s available on HBO Max makes little sense. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 30 Best Horror Movies on HBO Max," 8 Jan. 2021 The sense of frustration, anxiety, and fear has put people’s patience at zero, says Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research Associates, a public opinion firm in Ottawa. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why Canadians are fuming at footloose politicians," 8 Jan. 2021 As the authors point out, the theory makes sense not just ecologically but also geographically: the earliest Paleolithic dog discoveries primarily come from areas that were very cold at the time. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "Dog Domestication May Have Begun because Paleo Humans Couldn’t Stomach the Original Paleo Diet," 7 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The campaign for a new civil rights bill had stalled in the Senate, and Rainey could sense support in the House slipping away. Christopher Frear, Smithsonian Magazine, "Meet Joseph Rainey, the First Black Congressman," 5 Jan. 2021 There also seemed to be times when Gebbia didn’t sense an oncoming pass rusher. oregonlive, "Nowhere to go but up for Oregon State after a Washington State beatdown: 8 takeaways," 8 Nov. 2020 From his patrol car, Adams could sense the tension. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, "As a Coach and a Cop in Minneapolis, Where Would He Draw the Line?," 26 Oct. 2020 So while Trump last month held a White House reception to honor Bay of Pigs veterans, the Lincoln Project of anti-Trump Republicans and its Hispanic allies sense an opportunity. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Don Trump Jr. and Jorge Masvidal launch 'fighters against socialism' to woo Latinos," 10 Oct. 2020 Anyone with a modicum of self-awareness can sense when that has happened. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Henry Schulman: It’s time for this Giants beat writer to step away," 11 Dec. 2020 Researchers know the exact frequencies a handful of marine mammals can sense, but no definitive information is available for the majority of whales and other apex predators. Christina Couch, Smithsonian Magazine, "The COVID-19 Slowdown Will Show Whether Quieter Seas Help Killer Whales," 29 June 2020 To shut one’s eyes and sense the sun on our faces was to be transported back in time to April or March. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "On Friday, we opened a present: December’s warmest day," 12 Dec. 2020 In cells, the researchers discovered BCP-BCPO blocks receptors that sense cold in pandas. Lucy Hicks, Science | AAAS, "Scientists finally think they know why these pandas like to roll in horse poop," 7 Dec. 2020

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 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

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sense.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sense. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on sense

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