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)

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Synonyms for sense

Synonyms: Noun

feel, feeling, sensation

Synonyms: Verb

feel, perceive, scent, see, smell, taste

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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 a larger sense, Google found itself and its culture deeply maladapted to a new set of political, social, and business imperatives. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "Three Years of Misery Inside Google, the Happiest Company in Tech," 13 Aug. 2019 The people blocking common-sense gun legislation don’t just materialize out of thin air. Los Angeles Times, "Seth MacFarlane has quietly become one of Hollywood’s major political donors," 11 Aug. 2019 This change can take place even among those who look back at Charlottesville with a sense of nostalgia that the rest of the nation does not share. Jennifer Rich, The Conversation, "Talking about Charlottesville with alt-right students," 9 Aug. 2019 The president has a pretty common-sense point of view. Josh Dawsey, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump warned by NRA over background checks," 8 Aug. 2019 Considering the urgency, says Croke, whose Closed Loop Partners invests in chemical recycling, the only strategy that makes sense is all of the above. Rowan Jacobsen, Outside Online, "An Ocean Plastics Field Trip for Corporate Executives," 8 Aug. 2019 The refusal to countermand organizations like the National Rifle Association that roadblock efforts to address common-sense gun laws. John D'anna, azcentral, "Spiritual leader of Arizona Methodists calls flock to action on gun violence, racism," 7 Aug. 2019 Bringing political campaigns into the modern age makes sense, of course. Michelle Cheng, Quartz at Work, "Slack, Zoom, Dropbox, Office: Which US presidential campaigns are using what," 7 Aug. 2019 Much of that comes down to Dôen’s sixth-sense understanding of how women want to look. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Dôen Is Bringing Its Dreamy Digital World Into “Real Life” With Its First Permanent Store," 5 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Sony's imaging and sensing solutions division, which includes sensors for smartphone cameras, continued its strong performance with sales up 28 percent to $2.1 billion (¥231 billion) and profits up 20 percent to $456 million (¥49.5 billion). Gavin J. Blair, The Hollywood Reporter, "Sony Pictures Swings to Quarterly Profit of $3.7 Million," 30 July 2019 For this reason, India’s space program has focused on developmental missions right from the beginning; mainly establishing communication satellites, weather forecasting, and remote sensing technology. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Quartz India, "The ISRO isn’t enough. India needs its own Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos," 19 July 2019 Bitadze can sense the nervousness and fear among his family members. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Why Pacers fans should expect Goga Bitadze to succeed no matter what they thought of pick," 21 June 2019 And yet one senses, in her boundless fascination with the unsettled and in-between, a link to the difficulties her own group has faced. Abigail Deutsch, Harper's magazine, "Bette on the Blues," 22 July 2019 Still, after a decade of recession and pain, Piraeus’s dockworkers sense the chance for growth—or, at least, stability. By Vivienne Walt, Fortune, "Boxed In at the Docks: How a Lifeline From China Changed Greece," 22 July 2019 But the home crowd sensed the tournament within a tournament was only just heating up. Rob Hodgetts, CNN, "Emotional Rory McIlroy feels 'love' in dramatic late Open bid," 19 July 2019 Corporate America must have sensed the shift in public opinion. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "The House just passed a $15 minimum wage. It would be the first increase in a decade.," 18 July 2019 Both characters sense that others are in danger by using their respective powers and then try to help them. Time, "Breaking Down the Many Stranger Things Season 3 References You Might Have Missed," 4 July 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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Statistics for sense

Last Updated

16 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sense

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

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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
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sense

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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