Sensitivity has many shades of meaning but most relate to your response to your environment — either physical or emotional. Sensitivity to cold means you’re quick to notice the slightest chill — in the air or in another person’s actions.

A sensitivity to pollen means you’re sneezing any time it’s in the air — you just always seem to react to it. It’s the same with emotions — sensitivity means you pick up on the feelings of others. If you have great sensitivity to your classmates, then you’re aware of their needs and behave in a way that makes them feel good. If you introduce a new policy with sensitivity, that means you consider how others will react to it.

Definitions of sensitivity
  1. noun
    sensitivity to emotional feelings (of self and others)
    synonyms: sensitiveness
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    sensitivity leading to easy irritation or upset
    refined sensitivity to pleasurable or painful impressions
    emotional or moral sensitivity (especially in relation to personal principles or dignity)
    insight, perceptiveness, perceptivity
    a feeling of understanding
    a sensuous feeling
    type of:
    the experiencing of affective and emotional states
  2. noun
    the ability to respond to affective changes in your interpersonal environment
    synonyms: sensitiveness
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    insensitiveness, insensitivity
    the inability to respond to affective changes in your interpersonal environment
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    antenna, feeler
    sensitivity similar to that of a receptor organ
    excessive sensitivity to criticism
    the quality of insight and sympathetic understanding
    bunker mentality
    defensiveness resulting from repeated attacks
    type of:
    the quality of being able to perform; a quality that permits or facilitates achievement or accomplishment
  3. noun
    (physiology) responsiveness to external stimuli; the faculty of sensation
    sensitivity to pain”
    synonyms: sensibility, sensitiveness
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    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
    excitability, irritability
    excessive sensitivity of an organ or body part
    sight, vision, visual modality, visual sense
    the ability to see; the visual faculty
    cutaneous senses, sense of touch, skin senses, touch, touch modality
    the faculty by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the body (especially the hands)
    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
    the ability to sense the position and location and orientation and movement of the body and its parts
    somaesthesia, somaesthesis, somataesthesis, somatesthesia, somatic sense, somatic sensory system, somatosensory system, somesthesia, somesthesis
    the faculty of bodily perception; sensory systems associated with the body; includes skin senses and proprioception and the internal organs
    type of:
    sensation, sense, sensory faculty, sentience, sentiency
    the faculty through which the external world is apprehended
  4. noun
    the ability to respond to physical stimuli or to register small physical amounts or differences
    “a galvanometer of extreme sensitivity
    synonyms: sensitiveness
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    frequency response
    (electronics) a curve representing the output-to-input ratio of a transducer as a function of frequency
    type of:
    physical property
    any property used to characterize matter and energy and their interactions
  5. noun
    susceptibility to a pathogen
    synonyms: predisposition
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    person's predisposition to be affected by something (as a disease)
    sensitisation, sensitization
    the state of being sensitive (as to an antigen)
    pathological sensitivity
    constitutional predisposition to a particular disease or abnormality
    (pathology) abnormal sensitivity to stimulation
    cryaesthesia, cryesthesia
    hypersensitivity to cold
    hypersensitivity reaction
    an inappropriate and excessive reaction to an allergen (as pollen or dust or animal hair or certain foods); severity ranges from mild allergy to severe systemic reactions leading to anaphylactic shock
    inability to properly absorb or digest a drug, food, or other substance
    type of:
    susceptibility, susceptibleness
    the state of being susceptible; easily affected
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