Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin sensitivus, probably alteration of sensativus, from sensatus sensate
Date: 15th century
1. sensory 2
a. receptive to sense impressions
b. capable of being stimulated or excited by external agents (as light, gravity, or contact) <sensitive cells> 3. highly responsive or susceptible: as a. (1) easily hurt or damaged; especially easily hurt emotionally (2) delicately aware of the attitudes and feelings of others b. excessively or abnormally susceptible ; hypersensitive <sensitive to egg protein> c. readily fluctuating in price or demand <sensitive commodities> d. capable of indicating minute differences ; delicate <sensitive scales> e. readily affected or changed by various agents (as light or mechanical shock) <a photographic emulsion sensitive to red light> f. highly radiosensitive 4. a. concerned with highly classified government information or involving discretionary authority over important policy matters <sensitive documents> b. calling for tact, care, or caution in treatment ; touchy <a sensitive issue like race relations> 5. having or showing concern for a specified matter — usually used in combination <a price-sensitive customer> <environmentally sensitive policies> Synonyms: see liable • sensitively adverb • sensitiveness noun II. noun Date: 1838 1. a person having occult or psychical abilities 2. a sensitive person
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.