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[in-sen-suh-buh l] /ɪnˈsɛn sə bəl/
incapable of feeling or perceiving; deprived of sensation; unconscious, as a person after a violent blow.
without or not subject to a particular feeling or sensation:
insensible to shame; insensible to the cold.
unaware; unconscious; inappreciative:
We are not insensible of your kindness.
not perceptible by the senses; imperceptible:
insensible transitions.
unresponsive in feeling.
not susceptible of emotion or passion; void of any feeling.
not endowed with feeling or sensation, as matter; inanimate.
Origin of insensible
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin insēnsibilis. See in-3, sensible
Related forms
insensibly, adverb
insensibility, noun
5, 6. apathetic, unfeeling, indifferent, cool; dull, passionless, emotionless, torpid. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for insensibility
Historical Examples
  • Like a man stunned almost to insensibility, Kearney crossed his hands before him, and sat gazing out vacantly before him.

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
  • He had seized upon her by violence in a moment of insensibility.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • I found him lying on a bed in the north-west chamber, where he usually slept, in a state of insensibility.

    The Allen House T. S. Arthur
  • It was obvious that he was going to be beaten into insensibility.

    In the Orbit of Saturn Roman Frederick Starzl
  • In producing general anesthesia, or insensibility to pain, the vapor of chloroform or ether is administered by the nostrils.

    Special Report on Diseases of Cattle U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • The shock jarred his boiling brain into the perfect quietude of insensibility.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • The victim is oppressed by drowsiness, sinks into insensibility, finally death.

    Theism or Atheism Chapman Cohen
  • I believe that insensibility like this is not to be paralleled!

    Barrington Charles James Lever
  • Not only to whip them, but to beat them into insensibility if they fought back?

  • Nature had made him a butt, but had denied him insensibility.

    The Moon and Sixpence W. Somerset Maugham
British Dictionary definitions for insensibility


lacking sensation or consciousness
foll by of or to. unaware (of) or indifferent (to): insensible to suffering
thoughtless or callous
a less common word for imperceptible
Derived Forms
insensibility, insensibleness, noun
insensibly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for insensibility

late 14c., from Late Latin insensibilitas, from Latin insensibilis (see insensible).



c.1400, "lacking the power to feel with the senses," from Latin insensibilis "that cannot be felt," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + sensibilis (see sensible). Also sometimes in Middle English "incapable of being felt or perceived by the senses" (early 15c.). Meaning "unconscious" is attested from early 15c. See insensate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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insensibility in Medicine

insensible in·sen·si·ble (ĭn-sěn'sə-bəl)

  1. Having lost consciousness, especially temporarily; unconscious.

  2. Lacking physical sensation or the power to react, as to pain or cold; numb.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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