• IPA: /ɪnˈsɛn.sət/


  1. Having no sensation or consciousness; unconscious; inanimate.
    • 1816, Lord Byron, Diodati:
      Since thus divided — equal must it be
      If the deep barrier be of earth, or sea;
      It may be both — but one day end it must
      In the dark union of insensate dust.
    • 1928, Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Moriturus":
      If I might be
      Insensate matter
      With sensate me
      Sitting within,
      Harking and prying,
      I might begin
      To dicker with dying.
  2. Senseless; foolish; irrational.
    • 1818, Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy, ch. 13:
      [T]he sot, the gambler, the bully, the jockey, the insensate fool, were a thousand times preferable to Rashleigh.
    • 1854, Charles Dickens, Hard Times, ch. 13:
      Stupidly dozing, or communing with her incapable self about nothing, she sat for a little while with her hands at her ears. . . . Finally, she laid her insensate grasp upon the bottle that had swift and certain death in it, and, before his eyes, pulled out the cork with her teeth.
    • 1913, Joseph Conrad, Chance, ch. 6:
      [T]he romping girl teased her . . . and was always trying to pick insensate quarrels with her about some "fellow" or other.
    • 1918, Louis Joseph Vance, The False Faces, ch. 12:
      But in his insensate passion for revenge upon one who had all but murdered him, he had forgotten all else but the moment's specious opportunity.
  3. Unfeeling, heartless, cruel, insensitive.
    • 1847, Anne Brontë, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall,ch. 36:
      I was cold-hearted, hard, insensate.
    • 1904, Frank Norris, A Man's Woman, ch. 6:
      That insensate, bestial determination, iron-hearted, iron-strong, had beaten down opposition, had carried its point.
    • 1917, Frank L. Packard, The Adventures of Jimmie Dale, ch. 8:
      . . . the most cold-blooded, callous murders and robberies, the work, on the face of it, of a well-organized band of thugs, brutal, insensate, little better than fiends.
  4. (medicine, physiology) Not responsive to sensory stimuli.
    • 1958 June, Edward B. Schlesinger, "Trigeminal Neuralgia," American Journal of Nursing, vol. 58, no. 6, p. 854:
      If the ophthalmic branch is cut the patient must be told about the hazards of having an insensate cornea.
    • 2004 Aug. 1, Jeff G. van Baal, "Surgical Treatment of the Infected Diabetic Foot," Clinical Infectious Diseases, vol. 39, p. S126:
      The presence of severe pain with a deep plantar foot infection in a diabetic patient is often the first alarming symptom, especially in a patient with a previously insensate foot.
    • 2005 Feb. 5, "Minerva," BMJ: British Medical Journal, vol. 330, no. 7486, p. 316:
      The innocuous trauma of high pressure jets and bubble massage to the insensate breast and back areas had caused the bruising seen in the picture.
  • (having no sensation or consciousness) sentient
Translations Translations Translations Translations Noun

insensate (plural insensates)

  1. One who is insensate.
    • 1873, Thomas Hardy, A Pair of Blue Eyes, ch. 22:
      Here, at any rate, hostility did not assume that slow and sickening form. It was a cosmic agency, active, lashing, eager for conquest: determination; not an insensate standing in the way.

insensate (insensates, present participle insensating; past and past participle insensated)

  1. (rare) To render insensate; to deprive of sensation or consciousness.
    • 1915, James Oliver Curwood, God's Country And the Woman, ch. 24 (Google preview) ↗:
      And this thought, blinding them to all else, insensating them to all emotions but that of vengeance, was thought of Josephine.
    • 2002, Shony Alex Braun, My Heart Is a Violin, ISBN 9780759696150, p. 60 (Google preview) ↗:
      The train moved on again, keeping us prisoners in a stench-filled car, starving, suffocating, insensated.

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