Definition of sensitivity noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˌsensəˈtɪvəti//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌsensəˈtɪvəti//
    (pl. sensitivities)
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    to people’s feelings
  1. 1[uncountable] sensitivity (to something) the ability to understand other people’s feelings sensitivity to the needs of children She pointed out with tact and sensitivity exactly where he had gone wrong.
  2. to art/music/literature
  3. 2[uncountable] the ability to understand art, music and literature and to express yourself through them She played with great sensitivity.
  4. being easily upset
  5. 3[uncountable, countable, usually plural] a tendency to be easily offended or upset by something He's a mixture of anger and sensitivity. She was blind to the feelings and sensitivities of other people. opposite insensitivity
  6. of information/subject
  7. 4[uncountable] the fact of needing to be treated very carefully because it may offend or upset people Confidentiality is important because of the sensitivity of the information.
  8. to food/cold/light, etc.
  9. 5[uncountable, countable, usually plural] (specialist) the quality of reacting quickly or more than usual to something food sensitivity allergies and sensitivities Some children develop a sensitivity to cow's milk. The eyes of some fish have a greater sensitivity to light than ours do.
  10. to small changes
  11. 6[uncountable] the ability to measure very small changes the sensitivity of the test
  12. Extra examples Many doctors lack sensitivity when dealing with their patients. Migrating birds show extreme sensitivity to air currents. Sensitivity training for teachers is always useful. She broke the news to us with great sensitivity. She is not known for her sensitivity in dealing with complaints. The course teaches sensitivity to body language. The producers were aware of the sensitivity of the subject. There is deep sensitivity over the treatment of minority groups. This is a matter of great sensitivity. a tool that has been criticized for its low sensitivity sensitivity about racial issues the need for sensitivity towards the views of the children He shows imaginative sensitivity in his review. Sensitivity to the needs of children is the main requirement for the job.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: sensitivity