When you sense something, you know it intuitively, like when you can tell your mother is angry not by her words but by the tone of her voice.

Sense has many shades of meaning, all involving understanding or becoming aware of something. You can use sense to describe something perceived with your senses, like when you sense your dog is near because of the smell. Sense also refers to the unconscious process of figuring something out, like when you sense that someone is cheating at cards. If you have common sense you don't do foolish things. The sense of a word is how it's used.

Definitions of sense
  1. noun
    the faculty through which the external world is apprehended
    “in the dark he had to depend on touch and on his senses of smell and hearing”
    synonyms: sensation, sensory faculty, sentience, sentiency
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    modality, sense modality, sensory system
    a particular sense
    sensibility, sensitiveness, sensitivity
    (physiology) responsiveness to external stimuli; the faculty of sensation
    a sensitivity that is keen and highly developed
    extreme sensitivity
    reactivity, responsiveness
    responsive to stimulation
    sensitivity to stimuli originating outside of the body
    sensitivity to stimuli originating inside of the body
    photosensitivity, radiosensitivity
    sensitivity to the action of radiant energy
    sight, vision, visual modality, visual sense
    the ability to see; the visual faculty
    any of the sensory systems that mediate sensations of pressure and tickle and warmth and cold and vibration and limb position and limb movement and pain
    audition, auditory modality, auditory sense, hearing, sense of hearing
    the ability to hear; the auditory faculty
    gustation, gustatory modality, sense of taste, taste
    the faculty of distinguishing sweet, sour, bitter, and salty properties in the mouth
    olfaction, olfactory modality, sense of smell, smell
    the faculty that enables us to distinguish scents
    type of:
    faculty, mental faculty, module
    one of the inherent cognitive or perceptual powers of the mind
  2. noun
    a general conscious awareness
    “a sense of security”
    “a sense of happiness”
    “a sense of danger”
    “a sense of self”
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    sense of direction
    an awareness of your orientation in space
    sense of responsibility
    an awareness of your obligations
    type of:
    awareness, cognisance, cognizance, consciousness, knowingness
    having knowledge of
  3. noun
    a natural appreciation or ability
    “a keen musical sense
    “a good sense of timing”
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    type of:
    appreciation, grasp, hold
    understanding of the nature or meaning or quality or magnitude of something
  4. noun
    the meaning of a word or expression; the way in which a word or expression or situation can be interpreted
    “the dictionary gave several senses for the word”
    “in the best sense charity is really a duty”
    synonyms: signified
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    acceptation, word meaning, word sense
    the accepted meaning of a word
    type of:
    import, meaning, significance, signification
    the message that is intended or expressed or signified
  5. noun
    sound practical judgment
    “he hasn't got the sense God gave little green apples”
    synonyms: common sense, good sense, gumption, horse sense, mother wit
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    reasoned and reasonable judgment
    common sense
    road sense
    good judgment in avoiding trouble or accidents on the road
    type of:
    discernment, judgement, judgment, sagaciousness, sagacity
    the mental ability to understand and discriminate between relations
  6. verb
    perceive by a physical sensation, e.g., coming from the skin or muscles
    synonyms: feel
    be felt or perceived in a certain way
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    type of:
    comprehend, perceive
    to become aware of through the senses
  7. verb
    become aware of not through the senses but instinctively
    “I sense his hostility”
    synonyms: smell, smell out
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    type of:
    become conscious of
  8. verb
    detect some circumstance or entity automatically
    “This robot can sense the presence of people in the room”
    “particle detectors sense ionization”
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    type of:
    detect, discover, find, notice, observe
    discover or determine the existence, presence, or fact of
  9. verb
    “I sensed the real meaning of his letter”
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    type of:
    know and comprehend the nature or meaning of
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