Definition of sense in English:

sense

Pronunciation /sens/ /sɛns/

noun

  • 1A faculty by which the body perceives an external stimulus; one of the faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.

    ‘the bear has a keen sense of smell that enables it to hunt at dusk’
    • ‘Sensory evaluation is analysis of product attributes perceived by the human senses of smell, taste, touch, sight, and hearing.’
    • ‘The wall will include different pieces of artwork to stimulate various senses including touch, smell, sight and sound.’
    • ‘It is through our senses - sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch - that we perceive the world around us.’
    • ‘They have keen hearing and good senses of vision and smell.’
    • ‘They were doing this with their hands in the dark with just a flashlight, and just using their senses of touch, smell and sight.’
    • ‘His hearing was affected, and he had lost his sense of taste and smell.’
    • ‘Crocodilians' senses of smell, sight, and hearing are well developed.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, the senses of smell, taste, and touch have not been neglected.’
    • ‘There are two primary forms of chemoreceptors: gustatory and olfactory, which are responsible for the senses of taste and smell.’
    • ‘Children begin to learn about their world by using their senses; touching, tasting, smelling, listening and looking.’
    • ‘He relies first on smell, then on taste; his sense of touch comes last.’
    • ‘Remaining motionless seems to enable elephants to focus their keen senses of smell and hearing on unfamiliar noises and odors in the air.’
    • ‘Combined with good hearing and a sense of smell, human eyesight can be used to penetrate darkness.’
    • ‘The pure process of cycling undoubtedly brings about a much closer relationship with the countryside, and sharpens one's senses of hearing and smell.’
    • ‘Get a sinus infection, or something head-cold related that muffles your senses of taste and smell for at least two weeks.’
    • ‘But is it true what people say about the acuteness of senses of smell and taste being linked?’
    • ‘He still has back problems and has lost the senses of smell and taste, but has returned to college.’
    • ‘Claudia pretended that she was blind and had to depend upon her senses of hearing, touch and smell.’
    • ‘This means that it has strong senses of smell and hearing.’
    • ‘We use our senses of sight, smell, hearing, and of course then we filter it through the psychological baggage we all carry around.’
    sensory faculty, feeling, sensation, perception
    View synonyms
  • 2A feeling that something is the case.

    ‘she had the sense of being a political outsider’
    • ‘It suggests a sense of urgency and excitement, as do some of the hand-written articles in here.’
    • ‘But mention the impending transfer deadline and the banalities are overwhelmed by his sense of urgency.’
    • ‘There's a sense of urgency on every single point, on every shot, and it's an incredible challenge.’
    • ‘Therefore, there is a greater sense of urgency to forge ahead with deals.’
    • ‘When they discover a local death a new sense of purpose enters into the business of the day.’
    • ‘What he has brought is a sense of urgency and ambition that has helped maintain a sharp focus.’
    • ‘Now that it is back in US control, combined with the one-year hiatus, the sense of urgency has been diluted.’
    • ‘Now I'm no fan of fast food, but food with a sense of urgency would be nice.’
    • ‘Sporting occasions often don't count, as noisy tribal loyalties get in the way of a general sense of well-being.’
    • ‘Schlosberg's passionate rallying call pervades each song with a sense of urgency and zeal so often missed from other bands.’
    • ‘Lorraine waved her arms in a manner clearly designed to instill a sense of urgency in the observer.’
    • ‘I recognize the downsides of a sense of urgency, but I think that they can be managed.’
    • ‘An increased presence will boost the sense of security and encourage more people to use central Bradford.’
    • ‘Sometimes I think people lose all sense of reason when it comes to getting their hands on that magical half-price offer.’
    • ‘People lose their sense of reasonableness, they try to push in the ranks, try to get in taxis they shouldn't, and kick doors.’
    • ‘Whether or not there is a rational basis for their sense of humiliation is irrelevant.’
    • ‘To explain why, we have to look at the more general sense of pessimism and distrust about science and innovation.’
    • ‘It was that sense of general fabulousness that got us all so excited when the award was announced.’
    • ‘I guess that came from the pressure of deadlines, budget cuts, lay-offs and general sense of doom.’
    • ‘So I wanted to share some sense of what the campaign looks like to me right now.’
    awareness, feeling, sensation, consciousness, perception, recognition
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    1. 2.1An awareness or feeling that one is in a specified state.
      ‘you can improve your general health and sense of well-being’
      • ‘There is no empathy between them and there is no sense whatsoever of spatial awareness.’
      • ‘Few things strike closer to a person's sense of well-being than how much he or she earns.’
      • ‘There are very few who do not feel benefit either on a physical or on an emotional level, with a general overall sense of well-being.’
      • ‘It is a matter for them and whether it actually improves or increases people's sense of well-being and security remains to be seen.’
      • ‘This will improve your mental health, sense of peace, well-being, etc.’
      • ‘This has done significant harm to the quality of life and sense of well-being of the families involved.’
      • ‘It gives me a very particular sense of well-being: enlivened, yet benign.’
      • ‘I mean, he was a man that was free, just totally free from any sense of discrimination.’
      • ‘Keep in mind that all of these students are juniors/seniors who have no sense of a rivalry.’
      • ‘I hope at some point in her life she looks back on what she did and the way in which she did it and she feels some sense of remorse.’
      • ‘What is annoying is the lack of any sense of moral detachment from the activities he describes.’
      • ‘I think he had a certain facile sense of irreverence that he used to negate all nervousness.’
      • ‘One could argue that this sense of belonging is what keeps most camps running for years and years.’
      • ‘Despite the pretty scenery and the pretty boys, the show lacks any sense of drama or emotion.’
      • ‘They hit their lines in the script, with an unusual sense of urgency and concern.’
      • ‘He seems as passionate and sincere as ever, but not quite as laid back, as if there's a new sense of urgency in everything he says.’
      • ‘Most, though, are left with a general sense of well-being and increased energy.’
      • ‘Everyone laughed, and once again, I was hit with an overwhelming sense of belonging.’
      • ‘He seemed unfamiliar with the city's geography, but he did have a sense of urgency.’
      • ‘She couldn't explain it but she felt a sense of urgency that she should keep running.’
    2. 2.2sense ofA keen intuitive awareness of or sensitivity to the presence or importance of something.
      ‘she had a fine sense of comic timing’
      • ‘She has stage presence and a keen sense of the absurd, particularly in the political realm.’
      • ‘I therefore approach this case with a keen sense of its importance.’
      • ‘We are looking for a reporter with a keen news sense and a strong awareness of the issues of importance to our readers.’
      • ‘I think that they still have a tremendous sense of the importance of tradition and of duty.’
      • ‘Thus was Hollywood given the maniacal sense of its own importance that will continue to inflate until the crack of doom.’
      • ‘And sometimes national coaches possess a deluded sense of their own importance.’
      • ‘That album was bloated, overblown and stuffed full of guitar solos and a misplaced sense of its own importance.’
      • ‘From the very first, there was a sense of importance about the venture.’
      • ‘He was devoted to his family and was a man with a fine sense of place who was well focussed on the important things in life.’
      • ‘It gave her an inflated sense of importance, and for a moment, she forgot her troubles.’
      • ‘It gave us all a sense of involvement and importance that electronic voting will never give us.’
      • ‘The game is physical and visceral, and we were amazed at just how clearly a sense of presence in time and space was communicated.’
      • ‘His sense of timing and presentation was a delight to watch and it made magic much more interesting.’
      • ‘A powerful, quiet presence brings a reassuring sense of order and peace to a coming relationship.’
      • ‘Humour's your best medicine at present, and a sense of the absurd your saving grace.’
      • ‘There are times when one gets a sense of being present at the making of history.’
      • ‘She gained a sense of the importance of the work from her mother's commitment to it.’
      • ‘Many of her poems and hymns capture her sense of the presence of God.’
      • ‘We have lost a general sense of purpose that a knowledge of our ancestors gives us.’
      • ‘I take this situation with a sense of irony, it's like a bad joke.’
      appreciation, awareness, understanding, comprehension, discernment, acknowledgement
      View synonyms
  • 3A sane and realistic attitude to situations and problems.

    ‘he earned respect by the good sense he showed at meetings’
    • ‘The journalist claimed he was treated bluntly and said the staff attitude made no business sense and he could have been making a booking.’
    • ‘They keep insisting every now and then that saner sense prevails, after all.’
    • ‘I mean it would make as much sense, and realistically is a feeling I'm more familiar with.’
    • ‘Besides, anyone with any sense would realise she'd be dirty after falling down a hole.’
    • ‘He did have enough sense to realise that he'd run out of rope and that this was a straw at which he might clutch.’
    • ‘I can see that it makes logical sense but it just doesn't look right.’
    • ‘This surely seems to make perfect sense and demonstrates an excellent compromise for parties concerned?’
    • ‘But your explanation makes a whole lot of sense, and has changed my views on the whole situation.’
    • ‘Somehow, this absurd logic makes perfect sense in the right context.’
    • ‘Common sense dictates that it is dangerous to use a mobile phone while driving.’
    • ‘Common sense dictates avoiding areas of water where aggressive shark feeding has been noted.’
    • ‘At last, a voice of sense and reason from somebody who knows what they are talking about.’
    • ‘He came across as the charismatic voice of reason, talking sense and taking the long view.’
    • ‘Taking into account the needs of suppliers is again a combination of shrewd business sense and good ethical practice.’
    • ‘Will hesitated, all good sense and reason, even his own desires, begging him to keep his mouth shut.’
    • ‘Appealing to one's rational sense in their moment of deep anguish and distress is indeed a difficult task.’
    • ‘So fine, the game plan from here on in must be to suppress rationality and sense, because they only make good things go bad.’
    • ‘That is not hypocrisy or betrayal, but simply rationality and good sense.’
    • ‘He has a bit of a twitching problem and I don't think any General with sense in his head would trust him with a gun.’
    • ‘You can develop a very good business sense.’
    wisdom, common sense, good sense, practicality, sagacity, sharpness, discernment, perception
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    1. 3.1A reasonable or comprehensible rationale.
      ‘I can't see the sense in leaving all the work to you’
      • ‘If we suffer for no reason, if we can find no sense, no reason to our suffering, it makes us crazy.’
      • ‘If the reasons make no sense and are without foundation then I should so rule.’
      • ‘Ethical living is promoted not because it makes rational sense, but because it offers a guide for personal behaviour.’
      • ‘Alas, all of what you're saying makes rational sense, but I think it may be totally beside the point.’
      • ‘Of course, that was ridiculous, but to her nothing made much rational sense.’
      • ‘If they will continue on that line, they will not be passing any law that has any rational sense.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, myself and the board are charged with making rational sense of all this.’
      • ‘To say one can have a strong state makes no sense in this context.’
      • ‘The latter was an example of overreach that made no sense from an American standpoint.’
      • ‘He points out that remortgaging can make sense from an inheritance tax standpoint.’
      • ‘Yet, with so little making sense at the moment, such mad ramblings become more potent.’
      • ‘Her mind became a blur; nothing was making sense at that moment.’
      • ‘Making money and making sense at the same time.’
      • ‘It made economic sense, and it made sense to invest social capital in youth, he said.’
      • ‘If you are concerned this may be a possibility it makes sense to stick with your existing company.’
      • ‘It makes it difficult for City fans to stomach at the moment but in every sense young Hogg's departure made sense.’
      • ‘It does make sense the Vikings would have settled here because of the water.’
      • ‘Things were making sense: this must have been the ‘murder’ the girls were talking about - idle, mistaken gossip.’
      • ‘In detective fiction, everything ends up making sense.’
      • ‘In other words, religion is our way of making sense out of nonsense, necessary precisely because life, in and of itself, may well be meaningless.’
      purpose, point, reason, aim, object, motive, use, utility, value, advantage, benefit
      View synonyms
  • 4A way in which an expression or a situation can be interpreted; a meaning.

    ‘it is not clear which sense of the word “characters” is intended in this passage’
    • ‘So many people today, not least those who blog, claim to be cynics, yet are not, in the strictest sense of the word.’
    • ‘By default, the relation is one of possession, in the strict sense of the word.’
    • ‘We were in over our heads - in both senses of the expression.’
    • ‘The defect remained a player, if I can use that expression in a causal sense, all the way through.’
    • ‘The nature of Lloyd's is not governmental, even in the broad sense of that expression.’
    • ‘Animals do not have rights in the accepted sense of the word.’
    • ‘Perhaps because this one trait would be so overwhelming that we wouldn't be able to see them in any other way, and would demand that the situation be resolved in both senses of the word dramatically.’
    • ‘The definition of an ore, in the strictest sense, refers only to mineralized rocks that can be profitably mined.’
    • ‘No, your Honour, nor is it being asked, in the legal sense, to interpret the agreement.’
    • ‘It comes as no surprise then to find that the expression has many different senses.’
    • ‘It is also a statutory expression in the sense that it is used in section 40.’
    • ‘This is a dictionary in the strict sense: none of the entries runs more than a few pages.’
    • ‘As a result, this will likely be more of an explanation than a review in the strictest sense.’
    • ‘He did not think of these contributions as being in the strict sense philosophical.’
    • ‘He is a knowledge worker in all senses of the word and carries a message everyone involved in best practise in education should hear.’
    • ‘Indeed on the contrary, far from being purer, it is more comprehensive in every sense of that term.’
    • ‘Some of the very best of today's specialist schools are comprehensive schools in this sense.’
    • ‘Dolly doesn't do proper jobs, at least not in any sense you'd readily recognize.’
    • ‘In a more general sense, the painting offers a meditation on the eternal and the ephemeral.’
    • ‘Later cases were less scrupulous in applying the metaphor and it came to be used in a very general sense.’
    meaning, definition, import, denotation, signification, significance, purport, implication, intention, nuance, drift, gist, thrust, tenor, burden, theme, message, essence, spirit, substance
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  • 5Mathematics Physics
    A property (e.g. direction of motion) distinguishing a pair of objects, quantities, effects, etc. which differ only in that each is the reverse of the other.

    ‘the cord does not become straight, but forms a length of helix in the opposite sense’
    1. 5.1Genetics as modifier Relating to or denoting a coding sequence of nucleotides, complementary to an antisense sequence.
      ‘Polar mutations change a sense codon for a specific amino acid within a gene into a nonsense or translational termination codon.’

transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Perceive by a sense or senses.

    ‘with the first frost, they could sense a change in the days’
    discern, feel, observe, notice, get the impression of, recognize, pick up, be cognizant of, become cognizant of, be aware of, become aware of, be conscious of, become conscious of, come to know, get to know, tell, distinguish, make out, find, identify, comprehend, apprehend, see, discover, learn, appreciate, realize, suspect, have a funny feeling, have a hunch, just know, divine, intuit, conceive
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Be aware of (something) without being able to define exactly how one knows.
      ‘she could sense her father's anger rising’
      with clause ‘he could sense that he wasn't liked’
  • 2(of a machine or similar device) detect.

    ‘an optical fiber senses a current flowing in a conductor’

Phrases

    bring someone to their senses
    • 1Restore someone to consciousness.

      ‘for a few minutes I was shell-shocked but I was quickly brought to my senses’
      • ‘It woke me up in a sense, I felt that I came to my senses in many ways and I think my dad could see that and having gone through that incredible ordeal, it created this bond and brought us very close.’
      1. 1.1Cause someone to think and behave reasonably after a period of foolishness or irrationality.
        ‘the shock of the deal falling through brought her to her senses and made her realize how serious the situation was’
        • ‘There is no reason to believe that they have come to their senses.’
        • ‘I will go this time, if he does not come to his senses I shall deal with him.’
        • ‘Will we, as a people, come to our senses and restore the only REAL money there is?’
        • ‘Quickly coming to his senses, he reached and grabbed a shirt and pulled it over his head, cursing at himself for creating the already awkward situation more awkward.’
        • ‘An authoritative voice made me quickly come to my senses.’
    in a sense
    • By a particular interpretation of a statement or situation.

      ‘in a sense, behavior cannot develop independently of the environment’
      ‘in one sense, this isn't a new development’
      • ‘But that general statement of principle is in one sense no help.’
      • ‘It's amusing in one sense that you have to sing in English to become accepted.’
      • ‘Perhaps it's not fashionable in one sense of the word, but it is devilishly stylish and perhaps rather reassuring to be outside of a box.’
      • ‘It's shaming in one sense, but never underestimate the depth of despair supporters are prepared to endure.’
      • ‘That's true in one sense, but there's a difference between getting that from a sports team and a street gang.’
    make sense
    • Be intelligible, justifiable, or practicable.

      ‘it makes sense to start saving early for higher education’
      ‘the policy made economic sense’
      • ‘That makes no sense in some situations, such as when a PI requires information to trace a missing person.’
      • ‘The problem is that the narrative makes no sense on a realistic level.’
      • ‘This of course makes medical sense but the situation appears to be less manageable as the weeks go by.’
      • ‘Sandra's basket contents make perfect sense from a nutritional perspective.’
      • ‘Now there's a modern spin on an old idea that makes better sense than sending bored officers plodding along mostly quiet streets.’
    make sense of
    • Find meaning or coherence in.

      ‘she must try to make sense of what was going on’
      • ‘I had planned to write a review of the piece but it's pretty difficult to make sense of in words.’
      • ‘He is more concerned with making sense of what is being talked about than with the literal meaning of the words themselves.’
      • ‘Art is precisely the means by which man makes sense of, and transcends, his own limitations and flaws.’
      • ‘I was trying to make some sense of the situation… then, eventually, I came round.’
      • ‘Seeing my chance, I spoke up, trying to make some sense of the situation and defend myself.’
    in one's senses
    • Fully aware and in control of one's thoughts and words; sane.

      ‘would any man in his senses invent so absurd a story?’
      • ‘But it did rain a couple of times, and he has arthritis, nobody in their senses would expect him to work in the wet.’
      • ‘But I was not in my senses… pushing thoughts of him from my mind, I concentrated solely on getting back as fast as I could.’
      • ‘His sons refused, thinking that their father was not in his senses.’
      • ‘Better still, nobody in his senses will even argue that it can even in future earn profits.’
      • ‘No one in his senses doubts the existence of material objects.’
    take leave of one's senses
    • (in hyperbolic use) go insane.

      ‘she began to beat her chest as though she had taken leave of her senses’
      • ‘But five months ago, the Washington Post editors completely took leave of their senses.’
      • ‘Or was it the telecom bosses and their financiers who took leave of their senses?’
      • ‘So, from now until Christmas Day, this column will address the delicate subject of how to cook and entertain your way through the festive season without taking leave of your senses.’
      • ‘He is old and senile, and sometimes takes leave of his senses.’
      • ‘She truly does take leave of her senses where her Earl is concerned.’
    come to one's senses
    • 1Regain consciousness.

      ‘I must have fainted because when I came to my senses, I was in a ditch’
      1. 1.1Start to think and behave reasonably after a period of foolishness or irrationality.
        ‘Phil finally came to his senses and admitted he needed help with his drinking problems’
    out of one's senses
    • In or into a state of insanity.

      • ‘The child I was back then was shocked out of my senses, only starring disbelievingly at her half opened gaze.’
      • ‘‘It's enough to drive a man out of his senses, all this waiting,’ remarked Jim, attempting to bring some normality to the situation.’
      • ‘He was often dazed and drifted out of his senses while staring emptily into nothingness.’
      • ‘You might frighten her out of her senses, if it came to a struggle between you two men.’

Origin

Late Middle English (as a noun in the sense ‘meaning’): from Latin sensus ‘faculty of feeling, thought, meaning’, from sentire ‘feel’. The verb dates from the mid 16th century.

Pronunciation

sense

/sens/ /sɛns/