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

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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 Why this added emphasis about the AI not being sentient? Lance Eliot, Forbes, 14 June 2021 If there’s a Pixar situation in which all of the shirts in your closet are secretly sentient, the pandemic has probably hit your button-downs really hard. Chandler Dean, The New Yorker, 8 June 2021 Why this added emphasis about the AI not being sentient? Lance Eliot, Forbes, 3 June 2021 Why this added emphasis about the AI not being sentient? Lance Eliot, Forbes, 17 May 2021 Why would any sentient conservative participate in this deception? David Harsanyi, National Review, 3 May 2021 Visionaries have made big statements and pontificated on what's possible, but the world hasn't changed as dramatically as anticipated — we have not yet been taken over by connected sentient machines. Aaron Allsbrook, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2021 What happened between us in that lobby felt less like an interaction between two sentient beings and more like the ritual flogging of a corpse. Leslie Jamison, Harper's Magazine, 27 Apr. 2021 Why this added emphasis about the AI not being sentient? Lance Eliot, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2021

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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Last Updated

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sentient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for sentient



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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