sen·​si·​tize | \ ˈsen(t)-sə-ˌtīz How to pronounce sensitize (audio) \
sensitized; sensitizing

Definition of sensitize

transitive verb

: to make sensitive or hypersensitive

intransitive verb

: to become sensitive

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Other Words from sensitize

sensitizer noun

Examples of sensitize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Stopping any of the inciting causes including aggressive shaving, sensitizing deodorants, lotions, fabric detergents or fragrances and tight clothing are key. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Dr. Michelle Henry Talks How To Treat Underarm Hyperpigmentation, Milia And More," 16 Oct. 2019 Inflammation from sensitizing deodorants, lotions, fabric detergents or fragrances can cause hyperpigmentation. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Dr. Michelle Henry Talks How To Treat Underarm Hyperpigmentation, Milia And More," 16 Oct. 2019 There is no question that parenthood sensitizes adults to all of the risks surrounding their children. The Oregonian/oregonlive, al, "Ask Amy: New mother is petrified of losing it all," 1 May 2019 Those proteins are able to sensitize the immune system and trigger an allergic reaction in someone with a food allergy. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "Can antacids boost allergy risk?," 30 July 2019 The negatives were turned into prints using paper that was coated with ammonium and fermented egg white, or albumen, and sensitized with silver nitrate. Emily Toomey, Smithsonian, "The Actress Who Left the Stage to Become a Civil War Spy," 12 Aug. 2019 These qualities are hard to select for or to instill, but their lack can be quickly discerned by those who have been sensitized by need. John Crowley, Harper's magazine, "Works of Mercy," 10 Apr. 2019 Only use this on tough spots and sparingly so — vitamin C is highly acidic and can sensitize your skin if overused at this concentration. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, "Everything at Paula’s Choice Is on Sale Right Now," 13 June 2018 One view is that the increased amounts of CGRP released at the start of a migraine sensitize the trigeminal nerve to what are normally innocuous signals, resulting in inflammation in the nerves that is relayed to the brain as a pain signal. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, "Will antibodies finally put an end to migraines?," 18 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of sensitize

1851, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for sensitize

sensitive + -ize

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Time Traveler for sensitize

Time Traveler

The first known use of sensitize was in 1851

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Statistics for sensitize

Last Updated

25 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sensitize.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for sensitize


How to pronounce sensitize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sensitize

: to make (someone) more aware of something
medical : to cause (someone) to become sensitive to a substance and to react to it in a bad way


transitive verb
variants: also British sensitise \ ˈsen(t)-​sə-​ˌtīz How to pronounce sensitise (audio) \
sensitized also British sensitised; sensitizing also British sensitising

Medical Definition of sensitize

: to make sensitive or hypersensitive the patient was sensitized to the drug

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More from Merriam-Webster on sensitize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sensitize

Spanish Central: Translation of sensitize

Nglish: Translation of sensitize for Spanish Speakers

Comments on sensitize

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delight or enjoyment

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