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pensive

[pen-siv] /ˈpɛn sɪv/
adjective
1.
dreamily or wistfully thoughtful:
a pensive mood.
2.
expressing or revealing thoughtfulness, usually marked by some sadness:
a pensive adagio.
Origin of pensive
1325-1375
1325-75; < French (feminine); replacing Middle English pensif < Middle French (masculine), derivative of penser to think < Latin pēnsāre to weigh, consider, derivative of pēnsus, past participle of pendere. See pension, -ive
Related forms
pensively, adverb
pensiveness, noun
overpensive, adjective
overpensively, adverb
overpensiveness, noun
Synonyms
1. P ensive , meditative , reflective suggest quiet modes of apparent or real thought. P ensive , the weakest of the three, suggests dreaminess or wistfulness, and may involve little or no thought to any purpose: a pensive, faraway look. M editative involves thinking of certain facts or phenomena, perhaps in the religious sense of “contemplation,” without necessarily having a goal of complete understanding or of action: meditative but unjudicial. R eflective has a strong implication of orderly, perhaps analytic, processes of thought, usually with a definite goal of understanding: a careful and reflective critic.
Antonyms
1. thoughtless.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pensive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As I was saying, why should I pretend to be pensive and doleful, when I am as merry as a lark?

    Husks Marion Harland
  • Do you see how pensive she is, with her cheek resting on her hand?

  • There was the shade of grief on her pale face, and she returned our salutation with pensive courtesy.

    Lancashire Sketches Edwin Waugh
  • The pale beauty of her pensive face won her friends wherever she went.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • A hand encased in leathern glove,One pensive autumn day, Gathered some pretty wayside flowers,To make a bright bouquet.

British Dictionary definitions for pensive

pensive

/ˈpɛnsɪv/
adjective
1.
deeply or seriously thoughtful, often with a tinge of sadness
2.
expressing or suggesting pensiveness
Derived Forms
pensively, adverb
pensiveness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French pensif, from penser to think, from Latin pensāre to consider; compare pension1
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 pensive
adj.

late 14c., from Old French pensif "thoughtful, distracted, musing" (11c.), from penser "to think," from Latin pensare "weigh, consider," frequentative of pendere "weigh" (see pendant). Related: Pensively; pensiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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12
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