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

Or, to contort those words ever so slightly for more modern moviegoing sensibilities, the story is the thing. Mike Scott,, "‘All Is True’ movie review: The year’s first real Oscar threat?," 7 June 2019 The strength of a nation manifests itself in economics and military might, but ultimately depends on patriotic feeling, communal sensibility, and religious belief. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "Trump’s Great D-Day Speech," 6 June 2019 The Marc Jacobs has a takes on the original sensibility, creating staple pieces for your wardrobe at democratic price points. Tahirah Hairston, Teen Vogue, "Why Marc Jacobs Launched Another Contemporary Fashion Line," 30 May 2019 Filmmakers had different sensibilities in the 1940s. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "'Cold Blue' Shows the B-17 Bomber Like You've Never Seen It Before," 16 May 2019 The filmmaking brothers David Zellner and Nathan Zellner have a sensibility all their own, oddball and sincere. Mark Olsen,, "Indie Focus: Finding new paths in 'Damsel,' 'Half the Picture' and 'Eating Animals'," 24 June 2018 In a nutshell, camp is an elusive and playful and knowing sensibility, one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "This Is What Camp Is...According to Met Gala Attendees," 8 May 2019 ButchCamp is a project that deals with the dual functions of camp: camp as an aesthetic (things that can be described as camp) and camp as a sensibility (a camp way of looking at things). Teen Vogue, "What Is Butchcamp? An Explainer by Way of 10 Past Met Gala Looks," 2 May 2019 Still, the movie conveys a distinctive sensibility, making one wonder what this directorial duo will come up with next. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Chicago Underground Film Festival: The Story of a Satellite," 6 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of sensibility

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sensibility

Listen to Our Podcast about sensibility

Statistics for sensibility

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sensibility

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more

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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!