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[sen-si-tiv-i-tee] /ˌsɛn sɪˈtɪv ɪ ti/
noun, plural sensitivities for 2, 3.
the state or quality of being sensitive; sensitiveness.
  1. the ability of an organism or part of an organism to react to stimuli; irritability.
  2. degree of susceptibility to stimulation.
  1. the ability of a radio device to react to incoming signals, expressed as the minimum input signal required to produce a specified output signal with a given noise level.
  2. the input, as voltage, current, or the like, required to produce full deflection in an electric measuring device, expressed as the ratio of the response to the magnitude of the input quantity.
Origin of sensitivity
1795-1805; sensitive + -ity
Related forms
antisensitivity, noun, plural antisensitivities, adjective
nonsensitivity, noun, plural nonsensitivities.
1. See sensibility. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sensitivity
  • Cold intolerance is an abnormal sensitivity to a cold environment or cold temperatures.
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to the needs of students, faculty, and staff from multi-cultural backgrounds.
  • The second idea was that social sensitivity is a skill that dogs learn by being around people.
  • It drastically refines the scale of sensitivity from the range of about two millimeters to the resolution of human touch.
  • They have light or sound sensitivity and get nauseous or throw up.
  • It is also not fully understood why bitter sensitivity sometimes decreases with age.
  • Robotics and prosthetics designers have been making great advances in the power, sensitivity and humanity of their creations.
  • The first tier of training consists of three courses related to diversity sensitivity and awareness.
  • sensitivity to and understanding of the needs and abilities of first-generation college students.
  • Scientists should react with sensitivity to this concern.
British Dictionary definitions for sensitivity


noun (pl) -ties
the state or quality of being sensitive
(physiol) the state, condition, or quality of reacting or being sensitive to an external stimulus, drug, allergen, etc
(electronics) the magnitude or time of response of an instrument, circuit, etc, to an input signal, such as a current
(photog) the degree of response of an emulsion to light or other actinic radiation, esp to light of a particular colour, expressed in terms of its speed
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 sensitivity

1803, from sensitive + -ity. Sensitivity training attested by 1954.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sensitivity in Medicine

sensitivity sen·si·tiv·i·ty (sěn'sĭ-tĭv'ĭ-tē)

  1. The quality or condition of being sensitive.

  2. The capacity of an organ or organism to respond to a stimulus.

  3. The proportion of individuals in a population that will be correctly identified when administered a test designed to detect a particular disease, calculated as the number of true positive results divided by the number of true positive and false negative results.

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