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 plural finally 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)

Synonyms for sense

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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 a sense, Rosaforte was like Ben Hogan; their success was based on digging – for scoops or the ball out of the dirt. Craig Dolch, USA TODAY, 13 Jan. 2022 The 5-foot increase in wall height will perhaps be a bit of a downer for Hays, in the sense that robbing home runs at a ballpark that was practically built for it just became a lot more difficult. Nathan Ruiz, baltimoresun.com, 12 Jan. 2022 In a sense, the Beavers are starting over after having to postpone their past five games due to COVID-19 issues. oregonlive, 12 Jan. 2022 In a sense, Paul Schrader is alone in his room, making movies about a man alone in his room, both immersed in their professions and drawn alongside larger issues. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 12 Jan. 2022 In that sense, economic globalization may turn out to have an asymmetric effect on the balance of power, to the detriment of the U.S. and its allies, and democracies in general. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, 10 Jan. 2022 And a token, in this sense, is like a deed of ownership for a small piece of the internet, whether that’s an object in a video game or anything someone else might value, like art. NBC News, 9 Jan. 2022 In that sense, the current state of the EV market says a lot about the ways that businesses tend to respond to societal pressure. Time, 6 Jan. 2022 In 1799, nine years after Franklin’s death, Alessandro Volta of Italy created the first working battery in the modern sense. Alice George, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Moreover, these natural materials can sense changes in the environment to them. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 10 Jan. 2022 These pressure sensors seem to enable a kind of tactile echolocation: With their beaks plunged deep into the mud and sand, the shorebirds can sense the movement of prey. Jim Robbins, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Jan. 2022 The range can sense when a pan is on it and uses an electromagnetic field to zap heat into the metal. Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec. 2021 Many animals can sense things that humans cannot -- the humble pigeon, for instance, is capable of sensing and navigating via the Earth's invisible geomagnetic field. James Gaines | Inside Science, ABC News, 21 Nov. 2021 The rest of the paddock could sense, though, that this was no mistake. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, 10 Dec. 2021 In other words, Landsat 9 could sense something happening on the scale of a third of a football field. The Washington Post, Arkansas Online, 28 Nov. 2021 At that point, Bickerstaff could sense that Love was struggling. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 18 Nov. 2021 George, whose friendship with Jackson dates back a decade, could sense the weight. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near sense

sensatory

sense

sense cell

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Statistics for sense

Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sense.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sense. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for sense

sense

noun

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
: 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

sense

transitive verb
sensed; sensing

Medical Definition of sense (Entry 2 of 2)

: to perceive by the senses

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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