sensitivity

noun sen·si·tiv·i·ty \ ˌsen(t)-sə-ˈti-və-tē \
Updated on: 20 Nov 2017

Definition of sensitivity

plural sensitivities
: the quality or state of being sensitive: such as
a : the capacity of an organism or sense organ to respond to stimulation : irritability
b : the quality or state of being hypersensitive
c : the degree to which a radio receiving set responds to incoming waves
d : the capacity of being easily hurt
e : awareness of the needs and emotions of others
  • a book written with just the right mix of empathy and sensitivity
  • —L. C. Brown

Examples of sensitivity in a Sentence

  1. I was surprised by her extreme sensitivity about even the smallest suggestions that we made.

  2. This is a matter of great political sensitivity.

  3. He handled the situation with great sensitivity.

  4. Her decision shows a lack of sensitivity.

  5. I would have appreciated a little more sensitivity from you.

Recent Examples of sensitivity from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sensitivity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Do you have acuity or sensitivity?

Acuity is nearly synonymous with at least one sense of sensitivity, yet, as is so often the case with closely-related words, there are subtle differences worth observing before you substitute one of these words for the other. Acuity does refer to a form of sensitivity, but it is most often applied to the perceptual senses (as in “visual acuity” or “auditory acuity”). It is also frequently used in reference to the intellect (as in “mental acuity”). Sensitivity has a broader range of meanings than acuity does, including “the capacity of being easily hurt.” It may be used of inanimate objects such as radios (“the sensitivity of the instruments was carefully calibrated”), a context in which acuity is unusual.

First Known Use of sensitivity

1773


SENSITIVITY Defined for English Language Learners

sensitivity

noun

Definition of sensitivity for English Language Learners

  • : the tendency to become upset about things that are done to you, are said about you, or relate to you

  • : the tendency to cause people to be upset

  • : an awareness and understanding of the feelings of other people


SENSITIVITY Defined for Kids

sensitivity

noun sen·si·tiv·i·ty \ ˌsen-sə-ˈti-və-tē \

Definition of sensitivity for Students

1 : an awareness and understanding of the feelings of others
2 : the ability to express thoughts and feelings
  • She sings with great sensitivity.

Medical Dictionary

sensitivity

noun sen·si·tiv·i·ty \ ˌsen(t)-sə-ˈtiv-ət-ē \

medical Definition of sensitivity

plural sensitivities
: the quality or state of being sensitive: as
a : the capacity of an organism or sense organ to respond to stimulation : irritability
b : the quality or state of being hypersensitive


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