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

Dwight is now somehow back on the Lakers, in a weird way that actually makes a little sense. Rohan Nadkarni, SI.com, "The Most Notable NBA Feuds This Past Decade," 17 Sep. 2019 Director Sandy Shinner’s vision of Bari experiencing a post-seizure euphoria along the lines of a hard drug trip makes perfect sense in the context of the script. Jerald Pierce, chicagotribune.com, "Shattered Globe’s ‘Be Here Now’: Can happiness be real if it’s caused by a brain tumor?," 16 Sep. 2019 Now, at long last, the ten leading candidates would appear on the same stage—and everything would again make sound-bite-sized sense in American politics. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Second Tier in Top Form at Democratic Debate," 13 Sep. 2019 As opposed to a musicology book in 2D, which doesn't make any sense describing noises. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Björk made music’s first “VR pop album”—she opens up about its heartbreak," 13 Sep. 2019 The prequels are unusual for HBO as the network had never ordered a sequel or prequel series to one of its hits in its long history until GoT, but also makes sense given the drama’s massive global appeal and sprawling mythology. James Hibberd, EW.com, "Game of Thrones prequel series about the Targaryens near pilot order," 12 Sep. 2019 Each game features its own unique box art, including a short description of the title and a layout that makes sense for browsing. Brittany Vincent, Popular Mechanics, "Sega Genesis Mini Review: The Genesis of Excellent Miniature Consoles," 12 Sep. 2019 New York traded a 2021 sixth-round draft pick to New England for Demaryius Thomas on Tuesday, a rare deal between the AFC East rivals that now makes even more sense. Dennis Waszak Jr., courant.com, "Jets WR Quincy Enunwa out for season with neck injury," 11 Sep. 2019 With overfishing threatening marine ecosystems worldwide, vegetarian substitutes make sense for sustainability. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "Move Over Fake Meat, It’s Time for Veggie Seafood," 11 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Thanks to congestion-sensing navigation apps, drivers increasingly use these arterial roads like highways, bisecting neighborhoods to shorten their commutes. Los Angeles Times, "Pedestrians die every 90 minutes in the U.S., and low-income areas are hurt most," 16 Sep. 2019 Thousands of blinking, cleverly placed LEDs, motion-sensing software, and delightfully superfluous buttons and sound effects fill the courses, which are split into Downtown and Red Rocks themes (very, very loose themes, it should be added). John Wenzel, The Know, "Urban Putt transforms Denver’s Old Spaghetti Factory into surreal mini-golf playground (with a bar)," 13 Sep. 2019 Then, David Shultz writes forScience magazine, the researchers monitored the angry crabs with a combination of X-ray imaging and a vibration-sensing laser. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Ghost Crabs Use Teeth in Their Stomachs to Ward Off Predators," 12 Sep. 2019 Jahromi told The Associated Press in July that Tehran planned three satellite launches this year, two for satellites that do remote-sensing work and another that handles communications. Jon Gambrell, chicagotribune.com, "Trump tweets high-quality, possibly declassified surveillance photo of Iranian rocket launch pad," 31 Aug. 2019 Iran's Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said that Tehran planned three more launches, two for satellites that do remote-sensing work and another that handles communications. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "Satellite images suggest Iranian rocket blew up on launch pad," 29 Aug. 2019 And its new Orion spacecraft will be equipped with a radiation-sensing instrument that will alert astronauts to a spike in radiation — so the crew can move to the middle of the craft and shield themselves with bags of supplies. NBC News, "A trip to Mars could cause brain damage. Here's how NASA aims to protect astronauts.," 28 Aug. 2019 Studies have shown that light-sensing photoreceptors in the eye help to set the body’s circadian clocks, which play a role in regulating sleep, appetite, and much else. Time, "How Wearing Sunglasses Actually Impacts Your Eyes, According to Science," 26 Aug. 2019 The new Motion Sense feature is made possible by Google's work on Project Soli, a motion-sensing radar. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Google leaks more info about its Pixel 4, giving you an 'early look' at new tech," 30 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

27 Sep 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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