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 Unlike the intellectuals, these kids had no real political sensibility, at least initially. Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, "Hari Kunzru on Privacy, Surveillance, and Paranoia," 29 June 2020 Much of our magazine's DNA encodes Milton's ideas, visual intelligence, and New York sensibility. Ganesh Setty, CNN, "Milton Glaser, designer of 'I ♥ NY' logo and Bob Dylan poster, dies at 91," 27 June 2020 Awards and acclaim had been a constant since the publication of his first book, Death of a Naturalist, in 1966; a wistful post-agrarian sensibility in combination, or collision, with a crunching exactitude of language made his poetry irresistible. James Parker, The Atlantic, "Seamus Heaney’s Journey Into Darkness," 20 June 2020 The range of home goods highlights collaborations with British makers and artisans around the globe who have a similar homey sensibility, as well as classics like striped ticking bedding and enameled tableware. Eugenia Santiesteban Soto, Better Homes & Gardens, "4 British Home Design Brands You Can Shop on This Side of the Atlantic," 17 June 2020 Much of that sensibility arises naturally out of Coward's writing. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Get a first look at Judi Dench and Dan Stevens in Blithe Spirit," 15 June 2020 His early interests included poetry, theater, boxing and comedy—a sensibility that shines through his in his writing and lectures. Anne Quito, Quartz, "Design critic Ralph Caplan saw the 1960s lunch counter sit-in as the era’s greatest design," 13 June 2020 Designed for all skin types, age groups, and gender identities, Alder combines design sensibility and efficacy for no-nonsense, high-performing personal care essentials at an affordable price point. Erin Parker, Glamour, "19 LGBTQ+ Brands to Shop During Pride Month and Beyond," 11 June 2020 For Keynes, this sensibility came in part from his profound self-assurance and his rejection of traditional mores. Kim Phillips-fein, The New Republic, "The Lost Rebellious Spirit of Keynes," 9 June 2020

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

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Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sensibility.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for sensibility


How to pronounce sensibility (audio)

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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