Definition of sensitive
1 : sensory 2
2a : receptive to sense impressionsb : capable of being stimulated or excited by external agents (such as light, gravity, or contact) sensitive cells
3 : highly responsive or susceptible: such asa (1) : easily hurt or damaged; especially : easily hurt emotionally (2) : delicately aware of the attitudes and feelings of othersb : excessively or abnormally susceptible : hypersensitive sensitive to egg proteinc : readily fluctuating in price or demand sensitive commoditiesd : capable of indicating minute differences : delicate sensitive scalese : readily affected or changed by various agents (such as light or mechanical shock) a photographic emulsion sensitive to red lightf : highly radiosensitive
4a : concerned with highly classified government information or involving discretionary authority over important policy matters sensitive documentsb : 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
Examples of sensitive in a Sentence
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 of sensitive from the Web
Children, the elderly, and those who suffer from asthma are particularly sensitive to its effects.
Our hope is that the Gluten-Free Bun addition opens up options for gluten-sensitive customers to enjoy more of our menu.
In 2016, sensitive data about a new Novo Nordisk drug, Victoza, was shared with conference attendees an hour before its official release to the markets, and the data was immediately shared on Twitter, according to a Bloomberg report.
With Miami seen as the U.S. city most vulnerable to climate-change consequences, the issue is particularly sensitive for local leaders.
The FBI handles the nation's most sensitive terrorism and public corruption investigations.
The device can also function as a microphone sensitive enough to distinguish one person’s voice from another’s.
The utility also doesn't initiate contact via email, phone, or otherwise to demand immediate payment or ask for personal information, such as bank accounts, Social Security numbers, or other sensitive information.
Israel captured east Jerusalem 50 years ago and claims the area — home to sensitive Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites — as part of its capital.
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.
Origin and Etymology of sensitive
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin sensitivus, probably alteration of sensativus, from sensatus sensate
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of sensitive
Definition of sensitive
1 : a person having occult or psychical abilities
2 : a sensitive person
First Known Use of sensitive
SENSITIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of sensitive for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of sensitive for Students
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.
Medical Definition of sensitive
1: sensory 2 sensitive nerves
2a: receptive to sense impressionsb: 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: asa: easily hurt or damaged sensitive skin; especially : easily hurt emotionallyb: excessively or abnormally susceptible : hypersensitive sensitive to egg proteinc: capable of indicating minute differences sensitive scalesd: readily affected or changed by various agents (as light or mechanical shock) a sensitive colloid
Seen and Heard
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