sen·​si·​bil·​i·​ty | \ ˌsen(t)-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce sensibility (audio) \
plural sensibilities

Definition of sensibility

1 : ability to receive sensations : sensitiveness tactile sensibility
2 : peculiar susceptibility to a pleasurable or painful impression (as from praise or a slight) often used in plural
3 : awareness of and responsiveness toward something (such as emotion in another)
4 : refined or excessive sensitiveness in emotion and taste with especial responsiveness to the pathetic

Examples of sensibility in a Sentence

The writer is remembered most for his sensibility. She's a woman of poetic sensibility.

Recent Examples on the Web

The comic sensibility animating the show’s most difficult roles is blessedly refined. Nelson Pressley, Washington Post, "The revolting children have comic bite in ‘Matilda the Musical’," 1 July 2019 At the same time, her stories reflect an evolving sensibility among her readers. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "‘I Like to Watch’ explores TV as, well, just great," 14 June 2019 Mehrjui, whose rural fable The Cow (1969) helped inaugurate this sensibility, studied philosophy at U.C.L.A. and, in 1987, translated Herbert Marcuse’s The Aesthetic Dimension. Max Nelson, Harper's magazine, "The All-Seeing Eye," 10 June 2019 The line, which includes lighting, accessories, and bedding, showcases Contreras's traditional-meets-modern sensibility. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Williams Sonoma Home's New Line Is the Easiest Way to Make Your Home Look Effortlessly Glam," 18 Apr. 2019 On Monday the Justices will consider whether to broaden First Amendment protection to trademarks that offend moral sensibilities. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Speech Scandal at the Court," 14 Apr. 2019 Think: Exactly the kind of thing that appeals to my Brooklyn-meets-prairie sensibility; a personal style preference Instagram clearly understands. Elizabeth Kiefer, Glamour, "Instagram Made Me Buy It," 20 Sep. 2018 This new wider sensibility is good since that extra rubber equals a comfier ride. Aaron Gulley, Outside Online, "What We Learned From Our 2019 Bike Test," 25 June 2019 The sensibility and sound is at once dance-pop and classic rock, art and trash, all spun around the breathy vocals of Mr. Critcheloe, which can paint him as the lost love child of Prince and the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant. Jim Farber, New York Times, "Ssion, a D.I.Y. Hero of the Technicolor Underground, Returns Refreshed," 26 Apr. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for sensibility

The first known use of sensibility was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for sensibility



English Language Learners Definition of sensibility

: the kinds of feelings that you have when you hear, see, read, or think about something
: the kinds of feelings that a certain type of person tends to have
: the ability to feel and understand emotions


sen·​si·​bil·​i·​ty | \ ˌsen-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce sensibility (audio) \
plural sensibilities

Kids Definition of sensibility

1 : the ability to receive or feel sensations
2 : the ability to feel and understand emotions


sen·​si·​bil·​i·​ty | \ ˌsen(t)-sə-ˈbil-ət-ē How to pronounce sensibility (audio) \
plural sensibilities

Medical Definition of sensibility

1 : ability to receive sensations sensibility to pain
2 : awareness of and responsiveness toward something (as emotion in another)

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More from Merriam-Webster on sensibility

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sensibility

Spanish Central: Translation of sensibility

Nglish: Translation of sensibility for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sensibility for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sensibility

What made you want to look up sensibility? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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