sense

noun
\ ˈsen(t)s How to pronounce sense (audio) \

Definition of sense

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a meaning conveyed or intended : import, signification especially : one of a set of meanings a word or phrase may bear especially as segregated in a dictionary entry
2a : the faculty of perceiving by means of sense organs
b : a specialized function or mechanism (such as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch) by which an animal receives and responds to external or internal stimuli
c : the sensory mechanisms constituting a unit distinct from other functions (such as movement or thought)
3 : conscious awareness or rationality usually used in plural finally came to his senses
4a : a particular sensation or kind or quality of sensation a good sense of balance
b : a definite but often vague awareness or impression felt a sense of insecurity a sense of danger
c : a motivating awareness a sense of shame
d : a discerning awareness and appreciation her sense of humor
5 : consensus the sense of the meeting
6a : capacity for effective application of the powers of the mind as a basis for action or response : intelligence
b : sound mental capacity and understanding typically marked by shrewdness and practicality also : agreement with or satisfaction of such power this decision makes sense
7 : one of two opposite directions especially of motion (as of a point, line, or surface)

sense

verb
sensed; sensing

Definition of sense (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to perceive by the senses (see sense entry 1 sense 2)
b : to be or become conscious of sense danger
3 : to detect automatically especially in response to a physical stimulus (such as light or movement)

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Synonyms for sense

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Noun

sense, common sense, judgment, wisdom mean ability to reach intelligent conclusions. sense implies a reliable ability to judge and decide with soundness, prudence, and intelligence. a choice showing good sense common sense suggests an average degree of such ability without sophistication or special knowledge. common sense tells me it's wrong judgment implies sense tempered and refined by experience, training, and maturity. they relied on her judgment for guidance wisdom implies sense and judgment far above average. a leader of rare wisdom

Examples of sense in a Sentence

Noun There is an unnerving sense now that technology is driving the culture rather than the reverse. Machines and sites and software are breeding at an exponential clip, and we hapless humans race around trying to adapt. — Steven Johnson, Discover, July 2006 The caricature of neurotic nuns who specialized in corporal punishment and guilt crumbles before the countless examples of women religious who made the difference in determining that a child would eat, or be safe, or have any sense of dignity at all. — Luke Timothy Johnson, Commonweal, 22 Sept. 2006 Because Updike shrinks from giving any real credence to the ideology that drives his plot (in both senses of that word), the book becomes a temporarily enthralling, but ultimately empty shaggy dog story. — Jonathan Raban, New York Review of Books, 13 July 2006 Less distinguished people experience a similar tangling of the senses, some reporting that they can taste the words they speak or see the colors of certain words or numbers. This confounding of perception—called synesthesia—was thought to affect at most about 4 percent of the population, but University College London psychologist Jamie Ward has uncovered the best evidence yet that we may all have a bit of synesthesia. — Kathryn Garfield, Discover, December 2006 All of my senses were on the alert for danger. We had a sense that something wasn't quite right. His senses were clear despite his illness. Verb The latest feature on air conditioners is a big new plug to help prevent fires. The plug shuts down power when it senses that the air conditioner cord is damaged. Consumer Reports, July 2005 With very little provocation, magic might have been flying back and forth in an unpleasant and damaging manner. Sensing the danger, Kate stepped between them and raised her hands. "Let us have no more of this. There is a confusion to be cleared up, and I cannot do that in the middle of a brannigan," she said. — John Morressy, Fantasy & Science Fiction, October/November 2004 In Pecnik, he had instantly sensed a kindred spirit. As a boy Pecnik had strapped homemade parachutes to hamsters and tossed them (without harm) from his sixth-story bedroom window; by the time he joined the Croatian national team he was making his own jumpsuits. — William Speed Weed, Popular Science, July 2003 She immediately sensed my dislike. A motion detector can sense movement.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The pandemic had a way of making the most impractical thoughts make sense, and suddenly his old vision of a 6-by-10-foot mobile barber shop unit didn’t seem so crazy anymore. Nedra Rhone, ajc, 10 Sep. 2021 Every team makes decisions that don’t seem to make sense. Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2021 Two decades after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, documentary filmmakers are still trying to make sense of the horrific events — even as aftereffects continue to ripple through the geopolitical landscape. Addie Morfoot, Variety, 10 Sep. 2021 Back in 1855 a group of Bordeaux merchants at an Exhibition in Paris decided to make some sense of the myriad estate vineyards by classifying them according to which wines consistently sold for the highest prices within the industry. John Mariani, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 The Many Saints of Newark, the Sopranos prequel film premiering October 1st (in theaters and on HBO Max), was designed to make sense to fans of the series as well as those who’ve never seen a single frame. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 10 Sep. 2021 From the Library of Congress to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, these archives, databases and web platforms help researchers and members of the public alike make sense of one of the most defining events of the 21st century. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Sep. 2021 Finally, as night falls, people gaze across New York Harbor at the smoke, trying to make sense of what happened in front of their eyes. Arkansas Online, 9 Sep. 2021 The survey, the results of which usually make sense with only a bewildering result or two mixed in, attempts to gauge fans’ opinions about Boston sports personalities, topics, and issues. BostonGlobe.com, 9 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In other countries, new parties are formed when voters sense the old ones are failing. Ron Grossman, chicagotribune.com, 1 Sep. 2021 Supporters of the campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom now sense an opportunity to capitalize on frustration over widespread encampments across the state and oust the first-term Democrat in a Sept. 14 special election. Alexei Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Aug. 2021 As the crashes that are part of the NHTSA probe show, radar data doesn’t guarantee that ADAS systems will properly sense obstacles in the roadway, though, generally, additional sensors can help the systems get a complete picture of the scene. Tim De Chant, Wired, 17 Aug. 2021 That led to discussions with her doctor about having a pacemaker implanted, which can sense an irregular heartbeat. Washington Post, 2 Aug. 2021 The Blue Jays maintained a stiff upper lip throughout, but Lebron could sense something missing. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 19 Aug. 2021 But a growing body of research refutes the long held view that fish, unlike mammals, do not feel or sense. NBC News, 15 Aug. 2021 Now comes a lot of posturing as both sides sense the endgame. Kevin Rutherford, Billboard, 13 Aug. 2021 Things are flowering and ripening automatically as the days get shorter, and plants sense the impending end. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Aug. 2021

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for sense

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French sen, sens sensation, feeling, mechanism of perception, meaning, from Latin sensus, from sentire to perceive, feel; perhaps akin to Old High German sinnan to go, strive, Old English sith journey — more at send

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Time Traveler for sense

Time Traveler

The first known use of sense was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near sense

sensatory

sense

sense cell

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Statistics for sense

Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sense.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sense. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for sense

sense

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sense

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one of the five natural powers (touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing) through which you receive information about the world around you
: a physical feeling : something that your body experiences
: a particular feeling : an emotion that you are aware of

sense

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sense (Entry 2 of 2)

: to understand or be aware of (something) without being told about it or having evidence that it is true
: to detect the presence or occurrence of (something)

sense

noun
\ ˈsens How to pronounce sense (audio) \

Kids Definition of sense

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a specialized function or mechanism (as sight, taste, or touch) of the body that involves the action and effect of a stimulus on a sense organ
2 : awareness arrived at through or as if through the senses He felt a sense of danger.
3 : a particular sensation or kind of sensation I lost my sense of balance.
4 : the ability to make wise decisions
5 : an awareness or understanding of something a sense of humor a sense of pride
6 : a reason or excuse based on intelligence or good judgment There is no sense in continuing.
7 : a logical, sensible, or practical thing, act, or way of doing Saving money for the future makes sense.
8 : a meaning or one of a set of meanings a word, phrase, or story may have

sense

verb
sensed; sensing

Kids Definition of sense (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be or become aware of My cat can sense the approach of a storm.

sense

noun
\ ˈsen(t)s How to pronounce sense (audio) \

Medical Definition of sense

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the faculty of perceiving by means of sense organs
b : a specialized function or mechanism (as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch) by which an animal receives and responds to external or internal stimuli
c : the sensory mechanisms constituting a unit distinct from other functions (as movement or thought)
2 : a particular sensation or kind or quality of sensation a good sense of balance

sense

transitive verb
sensed; sensing

Medical Definition of sense (Entry 2 of 2)

: to perceive by the senses

More from Merriam-Webster on sense

Nglish: Translation of sense for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sense for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sense

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