Definition of sensitive adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈsensətɪv//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsensətɪv//
    Job skills and personal qualities
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    to people’s feelings
  1. 1  aware of and able to understand other people and their feelings a sensitive and caring man sensitive to something She is very sensitive to other people's feelings. opposite insensitive See related entries: Job skills and personal qualities
  2. to art/music/literature
  3. 2  able to understand art, music and literature and to express yourself through them an actor’s sensitive reading of the poem a sensitive portrait
  4. easily upset
  5. 3  easily offended or upset You're far too sensitive. sensitive about something He's very sensitive about his weight. sensitive to something She's very sensitive to criticism. opposite insensitive
  6. information/subject
  7. 4  that you have to treat with great care because it may offend people or make them angry or embarrassed Health care is a politically sensitive issue. That's a sensitive area.
  8. to cold/light/food, etc.
  9. 5  reacting quickly or more than usual to something sensitive areas of the body sensitive to something My teeth are very sensitive to cold food. The eyes of some fish are acutely sensitive to light. opposite insensitive see also touch-sensitive Which Word?sensible / sensitiveSensible and sensitive are connected with two different meanings of sense. Sensible refers to your ability to make good judgements:She gave me some very sensible advice. It wasn’t very sensible to go out on your own so late at night. Sensitive refers to how easily you react to things and how much you are aware of things or other people:a soap for sensitive skin This movie may upset a sensitive child.
  10. to small changes
  11. 6sensitive (to something) able to measure very small changes a sensitive instrument The eyes can be a sensitive indicator of health. (figurative) The Stock Exchange is very sensitive to political change. opposite insensitive
  12. Word Originlate Middle English (in the sense ‘sensory’): from Old French sensitif, -ive or medieval Latin sensitivus, formed irregularly from Latin sentire ‘feel’. The current senses date from the early 19th cent.Extra examples Her experiences had made her sensitive to other people’s troubles. Her eyes are very sensitive to light. Horses are very sensitive to their riders’ moods. It is not known how the Russians obtained such potentially sensitive information. Teenagers are often very sensitive about their appearance. The bat’s hearing is remarkably sensitive. The equipment is highly sensitive. The information was deemed too sensitive to be broadcast. The probe is sensitive enough to detect the presence of a single microbe. These drugs can make skin extremely sensitive to sunlight. a deeply sensitive, caring man a somewhat sensitive question an extremely sensitive question commercially sensitive information culturally sensitive policies sensitive to the slightest movement this highly sensitive issue He’s depicted as an insecure and sensitive soul. He’s very sensitive about his weight. I think they handled the situation in a sensitive way. It might be better to avoid such a sensitive topic. Nuclear power remains a very sensitive issue in the Netherlands. She is currently involved in highly sensitive negotiations. She is very sensitive to other people’s feelings. She’s acutely sensitive to criticism. This type of situation requires a sensitive approach by doctors. You’re far too sensitive. a sensitive reading of the poem
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: sensitive