sensitive

adjective
sen·​si·​tive | \ ˈsen(t)-sə-tiv How to pronounce sensitive (audio) , ˈsen(t)s-təv\

Definition of sensitive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2a : 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
4a : 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 customerenvironmentally sensitive policies

sensitive

noun

Definition of sensitive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a person having occult or psychical abilities
2 : a sensitive person

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sensitive

Adjective

sensitively adverb
sensitiveness noun

Synonyms for sensitive

Synonyms: Adjective

acute, delicate, fine, keen, perceptive, quick, sharp

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for sensitive

Adjective

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

Coombe instead has focused intensely on building up Gillette’s mail-order market, and rolling out new twists such as a blade for men with sensitive skin. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, "Deep cut: $8 billion in value lopped off Gillette," 1 Aug. 2019 But privacy experts say there's little that will slow Facebook's harvesting of vast amounts of sensitive personal information. Author: Matt O'brien, Anchorage Daily News, "Are Facebook users better off after its $5 billion fine?," 26 July 2019 In 2017, Equifax said hackers stole sensitive information, including Social Security and driver’s license numbers, belonging to millions of its customers in one of the most significant data breaches in history. David Yaffe-bellany, New York Times, "What the Equifax Data-Breach Settlement Means for You," 22 July 2019 Equifax will pay at least $700 million — and potentially much more — to settle lawsuits over a 2017 data breach that exposed the Social Security numbers and similar sensitive information of roughly half of the U.S. population. Ken Sweet, baltimoresun.com, "Equifax to pay Maryland $5.7 million in data breach settlement," 22 July 2019 It is aimed at civil servants and others in the government with access to sensitive information and is not designed to target journalists. Gregory Katz, SFChronicle.com, "British police warn publishers not to use leaked diplomatic memos," 13 July 2019 Purdy declined to identify those items, saying the information was sensitive to the ongoing investigation. Matthew Glowicki, The Courier-Journal, "Body found in Garrard County confirmed as missing Kentucky mom Savannah Spurlock, KSP says," 11 July 2019 Research has shown that goats, highly social animals that congregate in herds, are sensitive to human facial expressions, and that their vocalizations encode information about their emotional states. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Goats May Be Able to Tell When Their Buddies Are Feeling Good or Baaad," 10 July 2019 The group argued that the per-store retail data contained competitively sensitive information that shouldn’t be released. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Supreme Court Gives Businesses Wider Protections Under FOIA," 24 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Quiet Zone is a place where mystic scientists, gun-loving locals, and electromagnetic hyper-sensitives all live amongst one another, and Drake Equation chronicles their lives in rich detail. Laura Mallonee, WIRED, "Want to Hunt Aliens? Go to West Virginia's Low-Tech 'Quiet Zone'," 3 May 2018 Growing sensitives over language extend to politics as well. Michael Holtz, The Christian Science Monitor, "Amid anniversary protests, fears that Hong Kong is 'just another mainland city'," 3 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sensitive.' 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 sensitive

Adjective

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

Noun

1807, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for sensitive

Adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sensitive

Statistics for sensitive

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sensitive

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sensitive

sensitive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of sensitive

: easily upset by the things that people think or say about you
: likely to cause people to become upset
: aware of and understanding the feelings of other people

sensitive

adjective
sen·​si·​tive | \ ˈsen-sə-tiv How to pronounce sensitive (audio) \

Kids Definition of sensitive

1 : easily or strongly affected, impressed, or hurt a sensitive child
2 : likely to affect, impress, or hurt a sensitive topic
3 : understanding of the feelings of others
4 : capable of responding to stimulation sensitive structures of the ear
5 : readily affected or changed often in an unpleasant or negative way I have sensitive skin.

Other Words from sensitive

sensitively adverb

sensitive

adjective
sen·​si·​tive | \ ˈsen(t)-sət-iv, ˈsen(t)-stiv How to pronounce sensitive (audio) \

Medical Definition of sensitive

1 : sensory sense 2 sensitive nerves
2a : 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

Other Words from sensitive

sensitiveness noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on sensitive

What made you want to look up sensitive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by turns or indirection

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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