Common Senses: Sentire

Sentire means "to feel" in Latin. To touch up your vocabulary, tap these words: pathos, tangere
Here are links to more sensory stimulation: videre, specere, opsis, phone, audire, sonare

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. sensitive
    responsive to physical stimuli
    Was she completely sensitive like a baby, or numb, without nerve endings, just walking in a skin bag?Speak
    sentire (to feel) + ative (suffix forming adjectives)
    The descriptions in the example sentence are focused on physical sensitivity, but "she" is a teenage character who connects to other meanings of the adjective: 1) hurting; 2) being susceptible to the attitudes or feelings of others; 3) of or pertaining to classified information.
  2. desensitize
    cause not to be sensitive
    Some studies have shown that exposing children to increasing doses of peanuts can desensitize them, but few big trials have been done.Science Magazine (Jan 29, 2014)
    de (do the opposite of) + sentire (to feel) + ative (suffix forming adjectives) + ize (suffix forming verbs)
    The verb usually has a negative tone that connects to people being less aware of others' feelings, but here, it is used positively to connect to the lessening of the harmful effects of peanut allergies.
  3. insensate
    devoid of feeling and consciousness and animation
    "Are they awake?" asked Miriam, indicating the apparently insensate forms on the mattresses.Hume, Fergus
    in (not) + sentire (to feel) + ate (suffix forming adjectives)
    Similar to the first two words, "insensate" can describe both physical and emotional states. Here, the focus is on sleepers who look more like insensate lumps than humans using their senses. "Insensate" is also often used to describe anger or violence that lacks any feeling of morality, guilt, or restraint.
  4. sensation
    a general feeling of excitement and heightened interest
    The latest flavor sensation, and ultimate new snack for kids, is frozen vegetable pops.Forbes (May 26, 2014)
    sentire (to feel) + ate (suffix forming adjectives) + ion (suffix forming nouns)
    A sensation can also be a simple awareness of a physical stimulation, as well as someone "who is dazzlingly skilled in any field." Another word that's similarly connected to the senses on both extremes is "phenomenon."
  5. sensuous
    taking delight in beauty
    From sensuous silk floral blouses to velvet-faced cashmere turtlenecks, everything seemed to offer an invitation to touch—including, especially, the shoes.New York Times (Feb 27, 2014)
    sentire (to feel) + ous (suffix forming adjectives)
    The given definition would describe a person, but the example sentence uses the adjective to describe floral silk blouses and how they would affect a person's senses of sight and touch. "Sensuous" was coined to differentiate from "sensual" and shake off sexual connotations, but as the example sentence suggests, the two now have multiple synonymous meanings.
  6. sensible
    showing reason or sound judgment
    American colleges work hard to keep their students safe, and as long as students are sensible, their on-campus experience should be positive.US News (May 22, 2014)
    sentire (to feel) + ible (suffix forming adjectives expressing ability or capacity)
    As the breakdown of the word suggests, "sensible" also has a meaning that's synonymous with the given definition of "sensitive." Both meanings are suggested by the example sentence, since American college students are often tempted with alcoholic partying, which dulls their senses and their ability to make sensible choices.
  7. consensus
    agreement in the judgment reached by a group as a whole
    "Some politicians seek consensus, and others prefer their 'dividing lines'.BBC (Apr 14, 2014)
    "Consensus" is the past participle of "consentire" (see the breakdown for "consent"). Although "sense" is part of the word, the idea of being sensible in a reasonable way is not. According to the psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm, "'reasonable' for most people, has nothing to do with reason, but with consensus."
  8. assent
    agreement with a statement or proposal to do something
    And as folks tend to do when caught up in the fever of a crowd, you’ll probably find yourself smiling and nodding assent.New York Times (May 1, 2014)
    ad (to) + sentire (to feel)
    The positive nature of the word is more clearly seen in the Latin roots of its synonym "agree": ad (to) + gratum (pleasing).
  9. consent
    permission to do something
    Lesson: Always allow your contacts to opt out of a proposed introduction by first asking their consent.Forbes (May 26, 2014)
    com (with) + sentire (to feel)
    A homophone connected to the sense of hearing is "concent" which means "harmony of sounds or voices" and can be broken down like this: com (with) + canere (to sing). Both consent and assent can produce concent.
  10. dissent
    be of different opinions
    Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, dissenting from the other six judges, argued that such injuries belonged in civil court under libel law.New York Times (May 13, 2014)
    dis (apart) + sentire (to feel)
    As the breakdowns of the words suggest, "assent," "consent," and "dissent" originated as verbs but can also be used as nouns. "Dissent" can simply be the opposite of "assent" and "consent" but it also has stronger meanings that connect to legal arguments or political protests.
  11. sentiment
    tender, romantic, or nostalgic feeling or emotion
    That sentiment may explain the name of the sky-blue shade that Benjamin Moore selected as its color of the year: Breath of Fresh Air.Los Angeles Times (May 18, 2014)
    sentire (to feel) + ment (suffix forming nouns)
    The example sentence and given definition connect to positive feelings. But a sentiment can also be a vague feeling or awareness, and it can be a personal belief or judgment that's based on feeling rather than reason.
  12. presentiment
    a feeling of evil to come
    I did not know very well what was going to happen, but I felt a vague presentiment that it would displease the marquis.Gautier, Th?ophile
    pre (before) + sentire (to feel) + ment (suffix forming nouns)
    The example sentence and given definition connect to feelings of evil, but the breakdown of the word emphasizes that a presentiment can be any feeling of something about to happen. The sense of danger is more clearly felt in the use of the synonym "premonition": pre (before) + monere (to warn).
  13. sentient
    endowed with feeling and unstructured consciousness
    Neanderthals, it is said, were hairy beasts—more creature than man, more brutish than sentient, more nose than brain.Washington Post
    sentire (to feel) + ent (suffix forming adjectives)
    "Sentient" like "sensitive" can also simply mean "able to feel or perceive." But as the example sentence suggests, to qualify as sentient often means evolving beyond a focus on the physical senses towards intellectual explorations of what being human means.
  14. sentinel
    a person employed to keep watch for some anticipated event
    The job of taste buds is all about survival; they are sentinels at the main gate to our inner world.US News (Nov 4, 2013)
    The synonym "sentry" might be a shortened form of "sentinel"--neither can be definitively traced back to the Latin "sentire" but the connection has been proposed because a person on watch needs to feel and perceive with the senses.
  15. sententious
    abounding in or given to pompous or aphoristic moralizing
    "Nothing’s worth while but what’s difficult," said Jackson with a sententious ring that quite distressed his mate.James, Henry
    The present participle of "sentire" is "sentientem" from which comes "sententia" which means "thought, way of thinking, opinion, judgment, decision, saying." Sententious speech can be either full of sense or filled with sentences; it can also be short and to the point. In the example sentence, Jackson seems to think he connects to the positive meanings while his distressed mate feels negatively about his speech.

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