sensitive

1 of 2

adjective

sen·​si·​tive ˈsen(t)-sə-tiv How to pronounce sensitive (audio)
ˈsen(t)s-təv
1
2
a
: receptive to sense impressions
b
: capable of being stimulated or excited by external agents (such as light, gravity, or contact)
sensitive cells
3
: highly responsive or susceptible: such as
a(1)
: easily hurt or damaged
especially : easily hurt emotionally
(2)
: delicately aware of the attitudes and feelings of others
b
: excessively or abnormally susceptible : hypersensitive
sensitive to egg protein
c
: readily fluctuating in price or demand
sensitive commodities
d
: capable of indicating minute differences : delicate
sensitive scales
e
: readily affected or changed by various agents (such as light or mechanical shock)
a photographic emulsion sensitive to red light
f
: highly radiosensitive
4
a
: concerned with highly classified government information or involving discretionary authority over important policy matters
sensitive documents
b
: calling for tact, care, or caution in treatment : touchy
a sensitive issue like race relations
5
: having or showing concern for a specified matter
usually used in combination
a price-sensitive customer
environmentally sensitive policies
sensitively adverb
sensitiveness noun

sensitive

2 of 2

noun

1
: a person having occult or psychical abilities
2
: a sensitive person
Choose the Right Synonym for sensitive

liable, open, exposed, subject, prone, susceptible, sensitive mean being by nature or through circumstances likely to experience something adverse.

liable implies a possibility or probability of incurring something because of position, nature, or particular situation.

liable to get lost

open stresses a lack of barriers preventing incurrence.

a claim open to question

exposed suggests lack of protection or powers of resistance against something actually present or threatening.

exposed to infection

subject implies an openness for any reason to something that must be suffered or undergone.

all reports are subject to review

prone stresses natural tendency or propensity to incur something.

prone to delay

susceptible implies conditions existing in one's nature or individual constitution that make incurrence probable.

very susceptible to flattery

sensitive implies a readiness to respond to or be influenced by forces or stimuli.

unduly sensitive to criticism

Examples of sensitive in a Sentence

Adjective He acts like a tough guy, but he's really very sensitive to criticism. I found him to be a sensitive and caring person.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Fragrance-free may be the answer for those suffering from sensitive skin or scalp issues. Ascend Agency, New York Daily News, 3 July 2024 From teens to grandmothers to those with sensitive or acne-prone skin, there is a tinted moisturizer formula out there for you. Kristin Limoges, WWD, 3 July 2024
Noun
What This Means For You Anyone can use a hair oil, but choosing one and determining how often to use it depends on your hair type, personal sensitives, and hair care needs. Alyssa Hui, Verywell Health, 17 Jan. 2024 The fair is not the place for introverts, neat freaks, sensitives, or anyone who cannot tolerate unrelenting, bone-deep heat. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, 2 Oct. 2023 See all Example Sentences for sensitive 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sensitive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin sensitivus, probably alteration of sensativus, from sensatus sensate

First Known Use

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Noun

1807, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of sensitive was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near sensitive

Cite this Entry

“Sensitive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sensitive. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

sensitive

adjective
sen·​si·​tive
ˈsen(t)-sət-iv,
ˈsen(t)-stiv
1
: capable of responding to stimulation
2
a
: easily or strongly affected or hurt
a sensitive child
b
: capable of showing very small differences : delicate
sensitive scales
c
: readily affected or changed by the action of a certain thing
plants sensitive to light
sensitively adverb
sensitiveness noun

Medical Definition

sensitive

adjective
sen·​si·​tive ˈsen(t)-sət-iv, ˈsen(t)-stiv How to pronounce sensitive (audio)
1
: sensory sense 2
sensitive nerves
2
a
: receptive to sense impressions
b
: capable of being stimulated or excited by external agents (as light, gravity, or contact)
a photographic emulsion sensitive to red light
sensitive protoplasm
3
: highly responsive or susceptible: as
a
: easily hurt or damaged
sensitive skin
especially : easily hurt emotionally
b
: excessively or abnormally susceptible : hypersensitive
sensitive to egg protein
c
: capable of indicating minute differences
sensitive scales
d
: readily affected or changed by various agents (as light or mechanical shock)
a sensitive colloid
sensitiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on sensitive

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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