sen·si·bil·i·ty | \ ˌsen(t)-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē \
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

Sharp Objects is based on the book by Gone Girl’s Gillian Flynn and directed by Big Little Lies’s Jean-Marc Vallée, working with showrunner Marti Noxon of UnReal and Buffy, and the new show marks a perfect melding of the sensibilities of all three. Anna Silman, The Cut, "Sharp Objects," 11 July 2018 For one thing, her religious fervor can seem a bit unsettling to modern sensibilities. Evelyn Lamb, Smithsonian, "The 18th-Century Lady Mathematician Who Loved Calculus and God," 16 May 2018 In Western contexts, such anti-Malala sentiments are read as representing the pre-modern sensibilities of Pakistanis.... Monitor Editors, The Christian Science Monitor, "Time for an tax overhaul for digital multinationals, Why China and the West diverge sharply on privacy, Understanding Pakistan’s anti-Malala sentiment, The West has struggled to deal decisively with Russia, Winnie Mandela was Africa’s Rosa Parks," 14 Apr. 2018 The roomy professional kitchen has a Victorian sensibility but high-end modern equipment, outfitted for private dinners and soon-to-launch cooking classes. Janet Fletcher, San Francisco Chronicle, "Once run-down Napa Victorian is now a stately showplace," 21 Feb. 2018 The recent squabble over Poland’s new law about history and the Holocaust is another example of the government’s offending Western European sensibilities about free speech for domestic gain. Steven Erlanger And Marc Santora, New York Times, "Poland’s Nationalism Threatens Europe’s Values, and Cohesion," 20 Feb. 2018 That’s part of the easy-living, indoor/outdoor sensibility of West Palm Beach. David A. Keeps, House Beautiful, "A Daring Designer Brings Effortless Style to This Coastal Home," 19 Oct. 2017 This is a movie about Gauguin that, in the end, is less about his artistry than his ravenous sensibility, his desire to break through to a new way of seeing. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti' chronicles Gauguin’s desire to see a new way," 13 July 2018 Of course, as many have tried, the word, its sensibilities, and its proxies have remained elusive and difficult to pin down. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "The Town That Camp Built," 12 July 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

20 Sep 2018

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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 \
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 \
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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