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.

sensitizer (s) (noun), sensitizers (pl)
A chemistry term that identifies any substance that can facilitate the making of a reaction faster: The students in Mrs. Hearn's chemistry class were studying the various sensitizers which could be combined with baking soda to increase the foaming of soda.
sensitometer (s) (noun), sensitometers (pl)
1. A calibrated device with an optical light source that puts a set of densities on radiographic film: A sensitometer is used in quality control monitoring of film processors.
2. A measuring instrument that is used to determine the degree of responsiveness to a stimulus, such as the reactions to various amounts of light: The ophthalmologist used a sensitometer during her examination of Mr. Kaspar's ability to see so she could measure the reactions of the pupils of his eyes to light.
sensor (s) (noun), sensors (pl)
1. A tool or a device that responds to a physical stimulus and produces an electronic signal: Sensors are increasingly being combined with RFID tags (Radio Frequency Identification tags) to detect the presence of a stimulus at an identifiable commercial location by using radio waves.

Some libraries use sensors at their exits in order to make sure that no one is taking materials away without making proper check outs.

2. Any detection instrument that is used to determine temperature, moisture, radiation, light, distance, or motion: There are all kinds of sensors which are being utilized to gain information that is essential for the well-being of humanity.
sensorial (adjective), more sensorial, most sensorial
Descriptive of impressions acquired through such bodily functions as seeing, hearing, etc.: "The Tone Poem" was very sensorial, evoking the mental images of waterfalls and of a stream rushing towards the river through the sound of the orchestration.

After the explosion of the building where he worked, Jerrod lost some of his sensorial functions, such as his hearing and sight.

sensorimotor (adjective) (not comparable)
Relating to processes that involve afferent nervous paths (carrying impulses toward a center) and efferent pathways or functions (carrying away from a central organ or section): The physiotherapist developed a series of sensorimotor activities to help the patient develop better balance skills after her recent fall.

In the sensorimotor stage, from birth to about the age of two, babies adapt to their environment through their senses and actions by looking, hearing, touching, mouthing, and grasping.

sensorium (s) (noun), sensoria (pl)
The part of the brain that receives and correlates impressions from both external and internal sources which are transmitted by various areas of a person's feelings: Mildred's doctor explained that her sensorium involved the entire functioning of her perceptions, including appreciation and consciousness as to what was going on around her.
sensorivascular (adjective) (not comparable)
Descriptive of the production of blood-vessel contractions or dilations as a result of a stimulation that is applied by certain nerves: Mike's cardiologist ordered a sensorivascular examination for him because he seemed to have an irregular blood flow which caused him to feel abnormally cold at times.
sensory (adjective), more sensory, most sensory
Connected with the reception and transmission of impressions and the sending of impulses from organs to nerve centers: The medical center conducted a study about sensory stimulations and their effects on the brain.
sensory interaction (s) (noun), sensory interactions (pl)
The principle that one stimulus can influence another one: There are sensory interactions that exist with our bodily functions, such as smell plus texture plus taste equals flavor.

When people hold their noses and close their eyes, and have others feed them various foods, their sensory interactions can cause a slice of apple to be indistinguishable from a chunk of raw potato, a piece of steak may taste like cardboard, and without their odors, a cup of cold coffee can be hard to distinguish from a glass of red wine.

Sensory interaction also influences how well people hear, such as those with hearing losses watching a video with captioning have no trouble hearing the words they are seeing, but when the captioning is turned off, they suddenly realize that they need it.

—Compiled from excerpts located in
Psychology, 9th edition; by David G. Myers;
Worth Publishers; New York; 2010; 259-260.
sensory receptor (s) (noun), sensory receptors (pl)
One of the millions of microscopic structures throughout the body which collects information or awareness from the environment of each individual: Such sensory receptors are found in the skin, the muscles and the joints, in the internal organs, in the walls of blood vessels, and in the special perception organs, such as the eyes, the tongue, the nose, the skin, the ears, etc.

During the neurological assessment, the medical clinician checked the functions of some of the sensory receptors of the stroke patient.

sensual (adjective), more sensual, most sensual
1. A reference to the body or bodily pleasures as opposed to spiritual experiences: The novel described the more sensual activities of the dissipated youth living in London during the 1700s.
2. Relating to or preoccupied with the gratification of physical appetites: The unreliable land agent for the estate indulged in many sensual activities which made him unfit to continue his position.

Sensual (activities) consist of an unusual fondness for life, liberty, and the happiness of pursuit.

—Evan Esar
sensualism (s) (noun), sensualisms (pl)
The ethical doctrine that physical pleasures are the highest good: Ed and Dorothy believe that sensualism should be their objective and that's why they go on expensive vacations to sunny locations.
sensualist (s) (noun), sensualists (pl)
A person who likes, pursues, or indulges too much in the pleasures of life: Sharon was a sensualist who often spent time in the whirlpool bath because it was such a wonderful feeling for her to be there.
sensuality (s) (noun), sensualities (pl)
A desire to have physical pleasures: James has a sensuality for fine wine and delicious food.

Brian's brother has an excessive sensuality for eating and that is why he is called a glutton and is overweight.

sensualize (verb), sensualizes; sensualized; sensualizing
To provide gratification of physical desires or appetites: With his paintings, the artist seeks to sensualize the behaviors of his subjects by depicting their excessive drinking, eating, gambling, buying more things than are needed, playing computer games, and and so many other activities that are done to provide happiness and pleasure.

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-.