pensive

adjective

pen·​sive ˈpen(t)-siv How to pronounce pensive (audio)
1
: musingly or dreamily thoughtful
a pensive young poet
2
: suggestive of sad thoughtfulness
her face had the pensive mournfulness of a seraph in an old sad paintingHerman Wouk
pensively adverb
pensiveness noun

Examples of pensive in a Sentence

… the combination of national crisis and imminent electoral victory creates an atmosphere at once pensive and elated. Yossi Klein Halevi, New Republic, 25 Dec. 2000
We take in the synchronized swimming of sardines and the pensive patrol of a leopard shark. Roger Rosenblatt, Time, 5 Oct. 1998
… did not seem depressed so much as pensive, and within a few minutes he was talking eagerly—in fact, unstoppably—about his favorite subject: school. James Traub, New Yorker, 19 Dec. 1994
The child sat by himself, looking pensive. rainy days often put her in a pensive mood
Recent Examples on the Web Appearing with her band, Smith gave an intimate, pensive performance of the song, much to the delight of the crowd. Emily Zemler, Rolling Stone, 28 June 2024 Most of the painting, except for the King’s pensive face and hands, are detailed in an array of mottled reds and pinks. Karen K. Ho, ARTnews.com, 3 Sep. 2019 Kate, who herself seems a bit more pensive since her pregnancy, encourages her to be honest with Colin about it. Sara Netzley, EW.com, 13 June 2024 Other images show a horse stable looking out into a large grassy field, a horse with a braid, and the 6 God sitting inside his truck looking pensive. Armon Sadler, VIBE.com, 3 Sep. 2019 See all Example Sentences for pensive 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pensive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English pensif, from Anglo-French, from penser to think, from Latin pensare to ponder, frequentative of pendere to weigh — more at pendant

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pensive was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near pensive

Cite this Entry

“Pensive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pensive. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

pensive

adjective
pen·​sive ˈpen(t)-siv How to pronounce pensive (audio)
1
: dreamily thoughtful
2
: suggestive of sad thoughtfulness
pensively adverb
pensiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on pensive

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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