a. Any of the faculties by which stimuli from outside or inside the body are received and felt, as the faculties of hearing, sight, smell, touch, taste, and equilibrium.
b. A perception or feeling produced by a stimulus; sensation: a sense of fatigue and hunger.
2. senses The faculties of sensation as means of providing physical gratification and pleasure.
a. An intuitive or acquired perception or ability to estimate: a sense of diplomatic timing.
b. A capacity to appreciate or understand: a keen sense of humor.
c. A vague feeling or presentiment: a sense of impending doom.
d. Recognition or perception either through the senses or through the intellect; consciousness: has no sense of shame.
a. Natural understanding or intelligence, especially in practical matters: The boy had sense and knew just what to do when he got lost.
b. often senses The normal ability to think or reason soundly: Have you taken leave of your senses?
c. Something sound or reasonable: There's no sense in waiting three hours.
a. A meaning that is conveyed, as in speech or writing; signification: The sense of the criticism is that the proposal has certain risks.
b. One of the meanings of a word or phrase: The word set has many senses.
a. Judgment; consensus: sounding out the sense of the electorate on capital punishment.
b. Intellectual interpretation, as of the significance of an event or the conclusions reached by a group: I came away from the meeting with the sense that we had resolved all outstanding issues.
tr.v. sensed, sens·ing, sens·es
1. To become aware of; perceive: organisms able to sense their surroundings.
2. To grasp; understand: sensed that the financial situation would improve.
3. To detect automatically: sense radioactivity.
Genetics Of or relating to the portion of the strand of double-stranded DNA that serves as a template for and is transcribed into RNA.
[Middle English, meaning, from Old French sens, from Latin sēnsus, the faculty of perceiving, from past participle of sentīre, to feel; see sent- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.