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sensibility

[sen-suh-bil-i-tee] /ˌsɛn səˈbɪl ɪ ti/
noun, plural sensibilities.
1.
capacity for sensation or feeling; responsiveness or susceptibility to sensory stimuli.
2.
mental susceptibility or responsiveness; quickness and acuteness of apprehension or feeling.
3.
keen consciousness or appreciation.
4.
sensibilities, emotional capacities.
5.
Sometimes, sensibilities. liability to feel hurt or offended; sensitive feelings.
6.
Often, sensibilities. capacity for intellectual and aesthetic distinctions, feelings, tastes, etc.:
a man of refined sensibilities.
7.
the property, as in plants or instruments, of being readily affected by external influences.
Origin of sensibility
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English sensibilite < Middle French < Late Latin sēnsibilitās. See sensible, -ity
Related forms
hypersensibility, noun
nonsensibility, noun, plural nonsensibilities.
unsensibility, noun, plural unsensibilities.
Synonyms
1. Sensibility, susceptibility, sensitiveness, sensitivity refer to capacity to respond to or be affected by something. Sensibility is, particularly, capacity to respond to aesthetic and emotional stimuli: the sensibility of the artist. Susceptibility is the state or quality of being impressionable and responsive, especially to emotional stimuli; in the plural it has much the same meaning as sensibility : a person of keen susceptibilities. Sensitiveness is the state or quality of being sensitive, of having a capacity of sensation and of responding to external stimuli: sensitiveness to light. Sensitivity is a special capability of being sensitive to physiological, chemical action or a tendency to be easily affected by the adverse reactions of others: the sensitivity of a nerve; sensitivity to criticism. 2. alertness, awareness.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sensibility
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Some, therefore, imagined that age and the greatness of her misfortunes had deprived her of her understanding and sensibility.

    Women of History Anonymous
  • Nature has been too kind to you for your happiness, your delicacy, your sensibility.

  • Even Dunstanbury had been a man of sensibility; Lady Meg declared war on emotion—especially on the greatest of all emotions.

    Sophy of Kravonia Anthony Hope
  • If a man is amiable, and if I have taste and sensibility, I must see and feel it.

  • And why should there not be in the understanding a need of unity and relation that sensibility does not satisfy?

British Dictionary definitions for sensibility

sensibility

/ˌsɛnsɪˈbɪlɪtɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
the ability to perceive or feel
2.
(often pl) the capacity for responding to emotion, impression, etc
3.
(often pl) the capacity for responding to aesthetic stimuli
4.
mental responsiveness; discernment; awareness
5.
(usually pl) emotional or moral feelings: cruelty offends most people's sensibilities
6.
the condition of a plant of being susceptible to external influences, esp attack by parasites
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 sensibility
n.

late 14c., "capability of being perceived by the senses; ability to sense or perceive," from Old French sensibilite, from Late Latin sensibilitatem (nominative sensibilitas), from sensibilis (see sensible). Rarely recorded until the emergence of the meaning "emotional consciousness, capacity for higher feelings or refined emotion" (1751). Related: Sensibilities.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sensibility in Medicine

sensibility sen·si·bil·i·ty (sěn'sə-bĭl'ĭ-tē)
n.

  1. The ability to perceive stimuli.

  2. Mental or emotional responsiveness toward something, such as the feelings of another.

  3. Receptiveness to impression, whether pleasant or unpleasant; acuteness of feeling.

  4. The quality of being affected by changes in the environment.

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