sen·​tient | \ ˈsen(t)-sh(ē-)ənt How to pronounce sentient (audio) , ˈsen-tē-ənt \

Definition of sentient

1 : responsive to or conscious of sense impressions sentient beings
2 : aware
3 : finely sensitive in perception or feeling

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Other Words from sentient

sentiently adverb

Did You Know?

You may have guessed that sentient has something to do with the senses. The initial spelling sent- or sens- is often a giveaway for such a meaning. A sentient being is one who perceives and responds to sensations of whatever kind - sight, hearing, touch, taste, or smell. Sentient ultimately comes from the Latin verb sentire, which means "to feel" and is related to the noun sensus, meaning "feeling" or "sense." A few related English words are sentiment and sentimental, which have to do with emotions, and sensual, which relates to more physical sensations.

Examples of sentient in a Sentence

sentient of the danger posed by the approaching hurricane
Recent Examples on the Web The thyme has become sentient and is contemplating running for president. Matt Bean, Sunset Magazine, "Sunset Loves: I Tried Vertical Gardening and Now the Neighbors Love Me," 12 June 2020 This is a show with a talking cockroach, time travel, a talking horse/oracle named Baphomet, a cross-dressing cabaret singer, world-destroying interdimensional entities, a farting goat, and sentient Nazi puppets, after all. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Delightfully bonkers Doom Patrol is coming back for a second season," 10 June 2020 For Shantideva, the awakened life is one of altruistic concern for all sentient beings. Matthew Mackenzie, The Conversation, "Indian philosophy helps us see clearly, act wisely in an interconnected world," 10 June 2020 The show’s ultimate depiction of Rock Hudson as a dumb-as-a-rock, barely sentient beefcake is one of its strangest choices; its decision to portray Vivien Leigh as a shrill maniac with a demented voice is yet another. Philippa Snow, The New Republic, "Hollywood Keeps Trying to Rewrite Its History," 1 May 2020 The audible atmosphere of space — with its latching pod-bay doors, mission-control beeps and hums, and of course a sentient robot companion for good measure — makes for a delicious aural backdrop to an exploration of human drama. Phoebe Lett, New York Times, "Fiction Podcasts to Get Lost In," 7 Apr. 2020 Whether machines can become sentient matters for ethical reasons. Christof Koch, Scientific American, "Will Machines Ever Become Conscious?," 1 Dec. 2019 Its playful video sees him dressed to the nines while romping through a pasture, being roped to a tree by sentient vines, and floating Lebowski-like over fields of rainbow flowers. Marcus Jones,, "Friday Five: Frank Ocean's timely love story, Orville Peck's cloudless new tune, and more," 4 Apr. 2020 Basically, ideas about markets that are repurposed from the economy of material goods don’t work so well when applied to sentient beings who have emotions. Ashley Fetters, The Atlantic, "The ‘Dating Market’ Is Getting Worse," 25 Feb. 2020

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

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sentient

Latin sentient-, sentiens, present participle of sentire to perceive, feel

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Time Traveler for sentient

Time Traveler

The first known use of sentient was in 1632

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Statistics for sentient

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sentient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for sentient


How to pronounce sentient (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sentient

technical + formal : able to feel, see, hear, smell, or taste


sen·​tient | \ ˈsen-ch(ē-)ənt How to pronounce sentient (audio) , ˈsent-ē-ənt How to pronounce sentient (audio) \

Medical Definition of sentient

: responsive to or conscious of sense impressions

Other Words from sentient

sentiently adverb

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