• (RP) IPA: /ˈsen.sə.bl̩/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈsɛn.sɪ.bl̩/


  1. (now dated or formal) Perceptible by the senses.
    • 1751, John Arbuthnot, An Essay Concerning the Effects of Air on Human Bodies (page 1)
      Air is sensible to the Touch by its Motion, and by its Resistance to Bodies moved in it.
    • 1778, William Lewis, The New Dispensatory (page 91)
      The sensible qualities of argentina promise no great virtue of this kind; for to the taste it discovers only a slight roughishness, from whence it may be presumed to be entitled to a place only among the milder corroborants.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Folio Society 2008, page 45:
      It has been vouchsafed, for example, to very few Christian believers to have had a sensible vision of their Saviour.
  2. Easily perceived; appreciable.
    • The disgrace was more sensible than the pain.
    • 1776 March 8, Adam Smith, chapter 11, in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Printed for W[illiam] Strahan; and T[homas] Cadell, […], OCLC 762139 ↗, book I (Of the Causes of Improvement in the Productive Powers of Labour, […]), page 241 ↗:
      The discovery of the mines of America […] does not seem to have had any very sensible effect upon the prices of things in England.
  3. (archaic) Able to feel or perceive.
    • c. 1608–1609, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene iii]:
      Would your cambric were sensible as your finger.
  4. (archaic) Liable to external impression; easily affected; sensitive.
    a sensible thermometer
    • c. 1596–1598, William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene viii]:
      with affection wondrous sensible
  5. Of or pertaining to the senses; sensory.
  6. (archaic) Cognizant; having the perception of something; aware of something.
    • 1689 (indicated as 1690), [John Locke], An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. […], London: […] Thomas Basset, […], OCLC 153628242 ↗:
      , Book II, Chapter I
      He cannot think at any time, waking or sleeping, without being sensible of it.
    • , Extracts from the diary of a lover of literature
      we are now sensible that it would have been absurd
    • 1749, [John Cleland], “[Letter the First]”, in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], volume I, London: Printed [by Thomas Parker] for G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] […], OCLC 731622352 ↗, pages 213–214 ↗:
      Diſingaging myſelf then from his embrace, I made him ſenſible of the reaſons there were for his preſent leaving me; on which, tho' reluctantly, he put on his cloaths with as little expedition, however, as he could help, wantonly interrupting himſelf between whiles, with kiſſes, touches, and embraces, I could not refuſe myſelf to; [...]
  7. Acting with or showing good sense; able to make good judgements based on reason.
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 230b.
      They ask questions of someone who thinks he's got something sensible to say on some matter when actually he hasn't.
  8. Characterized more by usefulness or practicality than by fashionableness, especially of clothing.
    • 1999, Neil Gaiman, Stardust (novel) (2001 Perennial Edition), page 8,
      They would walk, on fair evenings, around the village, and discuss the theory of crop rotation, and the weather, and other such sensible matters.
Related terms Translations Translations
  • German: spürbar
  • Russian: ощути́мый
  • French: sensible
  • Russian: восприи́мчивый
  • Russian: сознаю́щий
Translations Translations
  • Russian: практи́чный

sensible (plural sensibles)

  1. (obsolete) Sensation; sensibility.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 2”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      Our temper changed […] which must needs remove the sensible of pain.
  2. (obsolete) That which impresses itself on the senses; anything perceptible.
    • Aristotle distinguished sensibles into common and proper.
  3. (obsolete) That which has sensibility; a sensitive being.
    • This melancholy extends itself not to men only, but even to vegetals and sensibles.

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