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[in-sen-si-tiv] /ɪnˈsɛn sɪ tɪv/
deficient in human sensibility, acuteness of feeling, or consideration; unfeeling; callous:
an insensitive person.
not physically sensitive:
insensitive skin.
not affected by physical or chemical agencies or influences:
insensitive to light.
not readily responsive or aware:
insensitive to the needs of the peasants.
1600-10; in-3 + sensitive
Related forms
insensitiveness, insensitivity, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for insensitivity
  • Now he was caught off-guard by the venom of his critics over his apparent insensitivity.
  • It is a pity that the editor in chief shows such insensitivity to the rights and feelings of others.
  • Values have become liquidated because insensitivity has been created with the constant barrage of violence within our society.
  • The problem lies not in the insensitivity of search committee members, but in the structure of the job market.
  • Every day, small incidents of arrogance and insensitivity such as this make the anger grow.
  • But his insensitivity to minority issues began to grate, particularly over police brutality.
  • There was a further insensitivity in the fact that the tube was removed at all.
  • Most of them conclude that this comment shows such moral insensitivity as to disqualify him all by itself.
  • Claims of insensitivity, however, have recently turned into charges of outright anti-Semitism.
  • Insulin insensitivity is one of the first signs of diabetes.
British Dictionary definitions for insensitivity


lacking sensitivity; unfeeling
lacking physical sensation
(postpositive) foll by to. not sensitive (to) or affected (by): insensitive to radiation
Derived Forms
insensitively, adverb
insensitiveness, insensitivity, noun
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 insensitivity



c.1600, "having little or no reaction to what is perceived by one's senses," from in- (1) "not, opposite of" + sensitive. For sense, see insensate. Meaning "without consideration for the feelings of others" attested by 1975. Related: Insensitively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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