senso-, sens-, sensi-, sensori-, sent-

(Latin: feeling, perception through physical awareness; to discern or detect by touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing, etc.)

The words in this list refer either to physical or mental perceptions, or a combination of both of them.

sense organ (s) (noun), sense organs (pl)
A specialized bodily structure where neurons are concentrated and which functions as a receptor: The eyes, ears, tongue, nose, and skin are well-known sense organs.

The sense organs are used to gain information about the surroundings: There are many small sense organs in the skin; including, pain, temperature, and pressure sensors, contributing to the sense of touch.

senseless (adjective), more senseless, most senseless
1. Descriptive of a condition in which someone is unaware of what is going on; a meaningless situation: The city has been experiencing too many senseless acts of violence by criminal gangs.
2. Pertaining to a person who has been hurt badly and is unconscious: Gertrude was in a senseless condition when she slipped and hit her head against the door frame of her bedroom.
3. Referring to something that is foolish or stupid: Martin was accused of making a senseless decision to buy such an expensive car.
senselessly (adverb), more senselessly, most senselessly
A reference to something that is done in a manner that is pointless, without purpose, or meaningless: When the storm started pouring down rain, the football players senselessly continued to practice in the flooded field.
senselessness (s) (noun) (usually only singular); senselessnesses (pl)
An act or an activity that is devoid of meaning or is pointless and useless: While in prison, Jason resented the senselessness of the mundane things he was expected to do.
sensibilia (pl) (noun)
1. Collectively, objects or things that can be perceived or recognized: The students were asked to study the sensibilia on the table and then list all of the items they remembered after they were covered and could no longer be seen.
2. Etymology: from Latin, a plural form of sensibilis, "recognized by the senses"; ultimately from Latin sentire, "to feel".
sensibility (s) (noun), sensibilities (pl)
1. The capacity to respond intelligently and perceptively to intellectual and moral or aesthetic events or values; especially those which are considered of a higher level or a refinement: The way Barbara dressed suggested the sensibility of an artist.

We all should learn to have regard for other people's sensibilities.

2. The ability to perceive and have responsiveness: According to the botanist, it is now possible to measure the sensibility of plants to light and heat.
sensible (adjective), more sensible, most sensible
Showing or in accordance with good judgment; pertaining to being reasonable: The student made a sensible decision to stay home and to study for the final exams, that are scheduled to take place tomorrow, instead of going to a movie tonight.
sensibly (adverb), more sensibly, most sensibly
In a manner that demonstrates a reasonable and responsible approach to a situation: The children who had been on the playground acted sensibly when it started to rain and they came inside to read their books.
sensimeter (s) (noun), sensimeters (pl)
An device for measuring the degree of feeling an anesthetic or hyperesthetic has regarding certain areas of the body: The neurologist used the latest model of sensimeter with the patient who had complained of a lack of feeling in her right hand.
sensitive (adjective), more sensitive, most sensitive
1. Responsive to or feeling something very easily: The mercury in a thermometer is sensitive to changes in temperature.

The tips of the fingers are considered to be very sensitive.

Bats are sensitive to sounds that humans can't hear.

2. Designating or dealing with highly secret or delicate government matters: The agent was caught revealing sensitive data to officials in another country.
sensitively (adverb), more sensitively, most sensitively
Completed in a manner that recognizes the importance of respect for feelings and attitudes: The interview which was observed by the students was the most sensitively achieved interview they had witnessed because the adult worker was able to question the children without upsetting them.
sensitiveness (s) (noun) (usually no plural)
A quality of character that is respectful, supportive, and which recognizes feelings and attitudes: There was no sensitiveness in the character of the guard and interrogator at the border crossing.
sensitivity (s) (noun), sensitivities (pl)
1. A tendency of a person to become upset about things that are done or said about him or her: Samuel was surprised by Silvia's extreme sensitivity about even the smallest suggestions that he made so she could successfully complete her class assignment.
2. An awareness and understanding of the feelings of other people: The police chief cautioned his officers about interviewing accident victims with sensitivity because they are already upset and fearful.

As a teacher, Mrs. White has shown a great sensitivity to the needs of her students.

3. The ability to express one's thoughts and feelings through writing, music, drama, etc.: Geraldine's singing is characterized by a rich emotional sensitivity that many appreciate very much.
4. Responsive to or affected by something: Photographic film is sensitive to light.
sensitization (s) (noun), sensitizations (pl)
The action or process of making someone more aware of something: The teacher was striving to provide a program that would give the students a sensitization regarding the dangers of using drugs.
sensitize (verb), sensitizes; sensitized; sensitizing
To change or to make different reactions to a situation: The teachers took courses designed to sensitize them to the special needs of immigrant students in their classrooms.

If you would like to take self-scoring quizzes over many of the words in this section, then click on these Sensory Quizzes so you can see how much you know about the following "senso-, sensi-" words or learn more about them.


Related-word units meaning feeling: aesth-; pass-, pati-; patho-.