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

n 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”
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

n a general conscious awareness

“a sense of security”
“a sense of happiness”
“a sense of danger”
“a sense of self”
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

n a natural appreciation or ability

“a keen musical sense
“a good sense of timing”
Type of:
appreciation, grasp, hold
understanding of the nature or meaning or quality or magnitude of something

n 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”
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

n sound practical judgment

“he hasn't got the sense God gave little green apples”
common sense, good sense, gumption, horse sense, mother wit
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

v perceive by a physical sensation, e.g., coming from the skin or muscles

be felt or perceived in a certain way
Type of:
comprehend, perceive
to become aware of through the senses

v become aware of not through the senses but instinctively

“I sense his hostility”
smell, smell out
Type of:
become conscious of

v detect some circumstance or entity automatically

“This robot can sense the presence of people in the room”
“particle detectors sense ionization”
Type of:
detect, discover, find, notice, observe
discover or determine the existence, presence, or fact of

v comprehend

“I sensed the real meaning of his letter”
Type of:
know and comprehend the nature or meaning of

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