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[sen-sey-shuh n] /sɛnˈseɪ ʃən/
the operation or function of the senses; perception or awareness of stimuli through the senses.
a mental condition or physical feeling resulting from stimulation of a sense organ or from internal bodily change, as cold or pain.
Physiology. the faculty of perception of stimuli.
a general feeling not directly attributable to any given stimulus, as discomfort, anxiety, or doubt.
a mental feeling, especially a state of excited feeling.
a state of excited feeling or interest caused among a number of persons or throughout a community, as by some rumor or occurrence.
a cause of such feeling or interest:
The new Brazilian movie was the sensation of the film festival.
Origin of sensation
1605-15; < Medieval Latin sēnsātiōn- (stem of sēnsātiō), equivalent to Late Latin sēnsāt(us) sensate + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
sensationless, adjective
nonsensation, noun
resensation, noun
subsensation, noun
2, 4. See sense. 6. excitement, stimulation, animation; agitation, commotion, perturbation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sensation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At Copenhagen, where they called at the court, they created quite a sensation.

  • He marveled dully over the sensation—it was wholly new to him.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Let us, however, consider for a moment what can be meant by a sensation of Space.

  • John had a sensation of self-consciousness when he heard the word "wife."

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • The fiddle all but spoke, and produced a sensation of dancing in the toes of even those who happened to be seated.

    Ungava R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for sensation


the power of perceiving through the senses
a physical condition or experience resulting from the stimulation of one of the sense organs: a sensation of warmth
a general feeling or awareness: a sensation of fear
a state of widespread public excitement: his announcement caused a sensation
anything that causes such a state: your speech was a sensation
Derived Forms
sensationless, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin sensātiō, from Late Latin sensātussensate
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 sensation

1610s, "a reaction to external stimulation of the sense organs," from French sensation (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin sensationem (nominative sensatio), from Late Latin sensatus "endowed with sense, sensible," from Latin sensus "feeling" (see sense (n.)). Meaning "state of shock, surprise, in a community" first recorded 1779.

The great object of life is sensation -- to feel that we exist, even though in pain. It is this 'craving void' which drives us to gaming -- to battle, to travel -- to intemperate, but keenly felt, pursuits of any description, whose principal attraction is the agitation inseparable from their accomplishment. [Lord Byron, letter, Sept. 6, 1813]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sensation in Medicine

sensation sen·sa·tion (sěn-sā'shən)

  1. A perception associated with stimulation of a sense organ or with a specific body condition.

  2. The faculty to feel or perceive; physical sensibility.

  3. An indefinite, generalized body feeling.

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