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 Bergstrom works at the intersection of two relevant subjects: how sentient beings like ourselves act on information, and how biological phenomena like viruses spread. Gregory Barber, Wired, 13 Sep. 2021 The deer-hoof lamp gets made; Jack suffers brain damage in a hunting accident; Carl and Jack become lovers, forming a family with Miriam and the inexplicably sentient, and well-read, lamp. Anthony Domestico, The Atlantic, 12 Sep. 2021 There are creative rules designers have made for these problems: Humblewood makes any monstrous, less-sentient animals fantastical, like an elemental lion. Pearse Anderson, Wired, 9 Sep. 2021 According to current estimates, approximately 80% of investments are either quant-based or fully passive, with only one-fifth of trades actively plotted out by sentient lifeforms. Alexander Puutio, Forbes, 8 June 2021 Much of Eternals' story centers on Sersi, who has the ability to manipulate non-sentient matter. Devan Coggan,, 18 Aug. 2021 The edit showed the movie's main poster—featuring Ryan's character, Guy (an NPC from a video game who becomes sentient and self-aware of his less-than-real reality), looking out over the world of his game—but with a few key elements changed. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, 15 Aug. 2021 Sudeikis’s performance adds humanity to a character who otherwise behaves like a sentient motivational poster. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 10 Aug. 2021 That’s what my colleague Daniel Hernandez is calling the pandemic, arguing that thanks to globalization and technology, practically every sentient human from age 3 to more than 100 knows that COVID-19 is happening. Amina Khan Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 11 Dec. 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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Last Updated

3 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sentient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of sentient

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on sentient

Nglish: Translation of sentient for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sentient for Arabic Speakers


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