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

Other Words from sensitize

sensitizer noun

Examples of sensitize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Growing up in a violent neighborhood or household, or even being bullied in school can sensitize us to trauma. Jessica Dulong, CNN, 27 June 2022 In a 1971 performance artwork, now in the Whitney and Museum of Modern Art’s collections as a video, Chris Burden had a friend shoot him at a gallery to re-sensitize the public to the brutality of guns. Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, 2 June 2022 Francis did an about-face and apologized, and convened the presidents of every national bishops conference in 2019 to try to sensitize them to the importance of the issue for the church's credibility. Arkansas Online, 19 Sep. 2021 Francis did an about-face and apologized, and convened the presidents of every national bishops conference in 2019 to try to sensitize them to the importance of the issue for the church’s credibility., 18 Sep. 2021 Nonhuman primate studies showed that the technique did not harm the eye, and also helped the researchers establish the proper dose of Chrimson4 to sensitize the retinal cells. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 24 May 2021 Meanwhile, a groundbreaking effort has been launched to help sensitize police to antisemitic crimes in the former East German state of Saxony. Toby Axelrod,, 5 May 2021 As Imam Meyer helped sensitize officials to budding religious extremism, the Ministry of Justice in the German state of Hesse started hiring more Muslim chaplains. Isabelle De Pommereau, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Mar. 2021 There, the bits of genetic material cause cells to produce proteins that cannot cause disease but can sensitize and educate the immune system. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 15 May 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of sensitize

1851, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for sensitize

sensitive + -ize

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The first known use of sensitize was in 1851

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Last Updated

8 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sensitize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for sensitize


transitive verb
variants: also British sensitise \ ˈsen(t)-​sə-​ˌtīz How to pronounce sensitize (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

More from Merriam-Webster on sensitize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sensitize

Nglish: Translation of sensitize for Spanish Speakers


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