sen·​si·​ti·​za·​tion | \ ˌsen(t)-sə-tə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce sensitization (audio) , ˌsen(t)s-tə-ˈzā- \

Definition of sensitization

1 : the action or process of sensitizing
2 : the quality or state of being sensitized (as to an antigen)

Examples of sensitization in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One of the processes that allows pain to move from acute to chronic is the development of central sensitization. Jessica Dulong, CNN, 27 June 2022 Generally, sensitization—or the process by which an allergy develops—to mosquito bites happens over the course of multiple bites. Eleesha Lockett, SELF, 8 June 2022 Headaches can also crop up in the early stages, likely due to sensitization in certain neurons and cell receptors, as well as a release of chemicals associated with head pain, according to a 2021 study published in the journal BioRxiv. Carly Vandergriendt, SELF, 17 May 2022 Some ailments, like rheumatoid arthritis, can exhibit both peripheral pathology and central sensitization. New York Times, 26 Apr. 2022 Another factor may be what is called central sensitization syndrome, which occurs when the brain is more reactive, Dr. Hurt says. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, 21 Dec. 2021 As a starting point, diversity training and sensitization programs have helped to address bias. Ritu Anand, Forbes, 25 Oct. 2021 Candidates are prioritized on the waitlist by placing them into categories, including blood type and antibody sensitization. Julie Washington, cleveland, 13 July 2021 Many scientists believe this sensitization involves oxytocin, a hormone made in the hypothalamus. Dina Litovsky, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Apr. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of sensitization

1857, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for sensitization

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The first known use of sensitization was in 1857

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Dictionary Entries Near sensitization

sensitivity speck



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Last Updated

7 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sensitization.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for sensitization


variants: also British sensitisation \ ˌsen(t)-​sət-​ə-​ˈzā-​shən, ˌsen(t)-​stə-​ˈzā-​ How to pronounce sensitization (audio) \

Medical Definition of sensitization

1 : the action or process of making sensitive or hypersensitive allergic sensitization of the skin
2 : the process of becoming sensitive or hypersensitive (as to an antigen) also : the resulting state
3 : a form of nonassociative learning characterized by an increase in responsiveness upon repeated exposure to a stimulus — compare habituation sense 3


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