sen·​tience | \ ˈsen(t)-sh(ē-)ən(t)s How to pronounce sentience (audio) , ˈsen-tē-ən(t)s \

Definition of sentience

1 : a sentient quality or state
2 : feeling or sensation as distinguished from perception and thought

Examples of sentience in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, a sentience gathers above the countryside’s ravaged bones. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "Louise Glück, Whisperer of the Seasons," 15 Oct. 2020 Is this synthesis perhaps sentience itself, a level of self-awareness that goes beyond our current understanding? Lettie Prell, Wired, "The Future of Work: ‘Collaborative Configurations of Minds’ by Lettie Prell," 4 Dec. 2020 In Nature, reporter Sara Reardon explains a specific area where the debate over sentience gets very heated, very quickly. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Experts Fear Lab-Grown Brains Will Become Sentient, Which Is Upsetting," 28 Oct. 2020 Free Guy, which stars Ryan Reynolds as a video game NPC who gains sentience, was initially scheduled to hit theaters in July, before the ongoing coronavirus pandemic pushed that date back. Devan Coggan,, "Free Guy, Death on the Nile," 6 Nov. 2020 Buckle up for a quick and dirty history of the ethics of sentience. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Experts Fear Lab-Grown Brains Will Become Sentient, Which Is Upsetting," 28 Oct. 2020 Indeed, a frequent cultural comparison for PlantWave and Music of the Plants is The Secret Life of Plants, a 1970s pseudoscience bestseller that made unprecedented claims about a plant’s sentience. Elisia Guerena, Popular Mechanics, "The Plants That Make Music," 12 July 2020 Harvey, like a dragon on a treasure pile, begins to guard her mountain of sentience, striving for the relaxation that might, in time, embolden a thief to take it. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "The Late-Night Revelations in a Memoir of Insomnia," 4 June 2020 Even more than vestigial memories, zombies are, themselves, vestigial humans: redundant remnants, oversimplifications of sentience. Jason Kehe, Wired, "What Great Zombie Movies Say About This ‘Zombie’ ‘Apocalypse’," 29 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sentience.' 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 sentience

1839, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for sentience

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The first known use of sentience was in 1839

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Statistics for sentience

Last Updated

24 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sentience.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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