AskDefine | Define sensible

Dictionary Definition

sensible adj
1 showing reason or sound judgment; "a sensible choice"; "a sensible person" [syn: reasonable] [ant: unreasonable]
2 able to feel or perceive; "even amoeba are sensible creatures"; "the more sensible p{ enveloping(a), shrouding(a), concealing,& (concealing by enclosing or wrapping as if in something that is not solid; "the enveloping darkness"; "hills concealed by shrouding mists") }arts of the skin" [syn: sensitive] [ant: insensible]
3 acting with or showing thought and good sense; "a sensible young man" [syn: thoughtful]
4 marked by the exercise of good judgment or common sense in practical matters; "judicious use of one's money"; "a sensible manager"; "a wise decision" [syn: judicious, wise]
5 readily perceived by the senses; "the sensible universe"; "a sensible odor"
6 aware intuitively or intellectually of something sensed; "made sensible of his mistakes"; "I am sensible that the mention of such a circumstance may appear trifling"- Henry Hallam; "sensible that a good deal more is still to be done"- Edmund Burke
7 proceeding from good sense or judgment; "a sensible choice" [syn: judicious]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From sensibilis.

Pronunciation

  • RP: /ˈsensəbl/

Adjective

  1. In the context of "now|_|dated|_|or|_|formal": Perceptible by the senses.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Folio Society 2008, p. 45:
      It has been vouchsafed, for example, to very few Christian believers to have had a sensible vision of their Saviour.
  2. Easily perceived; appreciable.
  3. Able to feel or perceive.
  4. Of or pertaining to the senses; sensory.
  5. Cognizant; having the perception of something; aware of something.
  6. Acting with or showing good sense; able to make good judgements based on reason.
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 230b.
      They ask questions of someone who thinks he's got something sensible to say on some matter when actually he hasn't.
  7. Characterized more by usefulness or practicality than by fashionableness, especially of clothing.
    • 1999, Neil Gaiman, Stardust (2001 Perennial Edition), p. 8,
      They would walk, on fair evenings, around the village, and discuss the theory of crop rotation, and the weather, and other such sensible matters.

Usage notes

  • "Sensible" describes the reasonable way in which a person may think about things or do things:
    It wouldn't be sensible to start all over again now.
  • "Sensitive" describes an emotional way in which a person may react to things:
    He has always been a sensitive child.
    I didn’t realize she was so sensitive about her work.

Translations

perceptible by the mind
easily perceived, appreciable
able to feel or perceive
aware of something
acting with or showing good judgement
characterized more by usefulness than by fashionableness

French

Etymology

From sensibilis.

Adjective

sensible

Spanish

Adjective

  1. sensitive

Usage notes

  • Sensible is a false friend, and does not mean "sensible" in the sense of "reasonable". See the translation section above for substitutes.

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Senses are the physiological methods of perception. The senses and their operation, classification, and theory are overlapping topics studied by a variety of fields, most notably neuroscience, cognitive psychology (or cognitive science), and philosophy of perception. The nervous system has a specific sensory system, or organ, dedicated to each sense.

Definition of sense

There is no firm agreement among neurologists as to the number of senses because of differing definitions of what constitutes a sense. One definition states that an exteroceptive sense is a faculty by which outside stimuli are perceived. The traditional five senses are sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste: a classification attributed to Aristotle. Humans also have at least six additional senses (a total of eleven including interoceptive senses) that include: nociception (pain), equilibrioception (balance), proprioception & kinesthesia (joint motion and acceleration), sense of time, thermoception (temperature differences), and in some a weak magnetoception (direction).
One commonly recognized catagorisation for human senses is as follows: chemoreception; photoreception; mechanoreception; and thermoception. Indeed, all human senses fit into one of these four categories.
Different senses also exist in other organisms, for example electroreception.
A broadly acceptable definition of a sense would be "a system that consists of a group sensory cell types that responds to a specific physical phenomenon, and that corresponds to a particular group of regions within the brain where the signals are received and interpreted." Disputes about the number of senses arise typically regarding the classification of the various cell types and their mapping to regions of the brain.

Senses

Sight

Sight or vision is the ability of the brain and eye to detect electromagnetic waves within the visible range (light) interpreting the image as "sight." There is disagreement as to whether this constitutes one, two or three senses. Neuroanatomists generally regard it as two senses, given that different receptors are responsible for the perception of colour (the frequency of photons of light) and brightness (amplitude/intensity - number of photons of light). Some argue that stereopsis, the perception of depth, also constitutes a sense, but it is generally regarded as a cognitive (that is, post-sensory) function of brain to interpret sensory input and to derive new information. The inability to see is called blindness.

Hearing

Hearing or audition is the sense of sound perception. Since sound is vibrations propagating through a medium such as air, the detection of these vibrations, that is the sense of the hearing, is a mechanical sense akin to a sense of touch, albeit a very specialized one. In humans, this perception is executed by tiny hair fibres in the inner ear which detect the motion of a membrane which vibrates in response to changes in the pressure exerted by atmospheric particles within a range of 20 to 22000 Hz, with substantial variation between individuals. Sound can also be detected as vibrations conducted through the body by tactition. Lower and higher frequencies than that can be heard are detected this way only. The inability to hear is called deafness.

Taste

Taste or gustation is one of the two main "chemical" senses. There are at least four types of tasteshttp://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/T/Taste.html that "buds" (receptors) on the tongue detect, and hence there are anatomists who argue that these constitute five or more different senses, given that each receptor conveys information to a slightly different region of the brain. The inability to taste is called ageusia.
The four well-known receptors detect sweet, salt, sour, and bitter, although the receptors for sweet and bitter have not been conclusively identified. A fifth receptor, for a sensation called umami, was first theorised in 1908 and its existence confirmed in 2000. The umami receptor detects the amino acid glutamate, a flavor commonly found in meat and in artificial flavourings such as monosodium glutamate.
Note that taste is not the same as flavor; flavor includes the smell of a food as well as its taste.

Smell

Smell or olfaction is the other "chemical" sense. Unlike taste, there are hundreds of olfactory receptors, each binding to a particular molecular feature. Odor molecules possess a variety of features and thus excite specific receptors more or less strongly. This combination of excitatory signals from different receptors makes up what we perceive as the molecule's smell. In the brain, olfaction is processed by the olfactory system. Olfactory receptor neurons in the nose differ from most other neurons in that they die and regenerate on a regular basis. The inability to smell is called anosmia.

Touch

Touch, also called tactition, mechanoreception or somatic sensation, is the sense of pressure perception, generally in the skin. There are a variety of nerve endings that respond to variations in pressure (e.g., firm, brushing, and sustained). The inability to feel anything or almost anything is called anesthesia. Paresthesia is a sensation of tingling, pricking, or numbness of a person's skin with no apparent long term physical effect.

Balance

Balance, Equilibrioception, or vestibular sense, is the sense which allows an organism to sense body movement, direction and speed, and to attain and maintain postural equilibrium. The organ of equilibrioception is the vestibular labyrinthine system found in both of the inner ears. Technically this organ is responsible for two senses, angular momentum and linear acceleration (which also senses gravity), but they are known together as equilibrioception.
The vestibular nerve conducts information from the three semicircular canals, corrisponding to the three spatial planes, the utricle, and the saccule. The ampulla, or base, portion of the three semicircular canals each contain a structure called a crista. These bend in response to angular momentum or spinning. The saccule and utricle, also called the "otolith organs", sense linear acceleration and thus gravity. Otoliths are small crystals of calcium carbonate that provide the inertia needed to detect changes in acceleration or gravity.

Non-human senses

Analogous to human senses

Other living organisms have receptors to sense the world around them, including many of the senses listed above for humans. However, the mechanisms and capabilities vary widely.

Smell

Among non-human species, dogs have a much keener sense of smell than humans, although the mechanism is similar. Insects have olfactory receptors on their antennae.

Vision

Cats have the ability to see in the dark due to muscles surrounding their irises to contract and expand pupils as well as the tapetum lucidum, a reflective membrane that optimizes the image. Pit vipers and some boas have organs that allow them to detect infrared light, such that these snakes are able to sense the body heat of their prey. The common vampire bat may also have an infrared sensor on its nose. Infrared senses are, however, just sight in a different light frequency range. It has been found that birds and some other animals are tetrachromats and have the ability to see in the ultraviolet down to 300 nanometers. Bees are also able to see in the ultraviolet.

Balance

Ctenophores have a balance receptor (a statocyst) that works very differently from the mammalian's semi-circular canals.

Not analogous to human senses

In addition, some animals have senses that humans do not, including the following:
  • Electroception (or "electroreception"), the most significant of the non-human senses, is the ability to detect electric fields. Several species of fish, sharks and rays have the capacity to sense changes in electric fields in their immediate vicinity. Some fish passively sense changing nearby electric fields; some generate their own weak electric fields, and sense the pattern of field potentials over their body surface; and some use these electric field generating and sensing capacities for social communication. The mechanisms by which electroceptive fish construct a spatial representation from very small differences in field potentials involve comparisons of spike latencies from different parts of the fish's body.
The only order of mammals that is known to demonstrate electroception is the monotreme order. Among these mammals, the platypus has the most acute sense of electroception.
Body modification enthusiasts have experimented with magnetic implants to attempt to replicate this sense, however in general humans (and probably other mammals) can detect electric fields only indirectly by detecting the effect they have on hairs. An electrically charged balloon, for instance, will exert a force on human arm hairs, which can be felt through tactition and identified as coming from a static charge (and not from wind or the like). This is however not electroception as it is a post-sensory cognitive action.
  • Echolocation is the ability to determine orientation to other objects through interpretation of reflected sound (like sonar). Bats and cetaceans are noted for this ability, though some other animals use it, as well. It is most often used to navigate through poor lighting conditions or to identify and track prey. There is currently an uncertainty whether this is simply an extremely developed post-sensory interpretation of auditory perceptions or it actually constitutes a separate sense. Resolution of the issue will require brain scans of animals while they actually perform echolocation, a task that has proven difficult in practice. Blind people report they are able to navigate by interpreting reflected sounds (esp. their own footsteps), a phenomenon which is known as Human echolocation.
  • Magnetoception (or "magnetoreception") is the ability to detect fluctuations in magnetic fields and is most commonly observed in birds, though it has also been observed in insects such as bees. Although there is no dispute that this sense exists in many avians (it is essential to the navigational abilities of migratory birds), it is not a well-understood phenomenon. There is experimental and physical evidence to suggest this sense exists in a weak form in humans.
Magnetotactic bacteria build miniature magnets inside themselves and use them to determine their orientation relative to the Earth's magnetic field.
  • Pressure detection uses the lateral line, which is a pressure-sensing system of hairs found in fish and some aquatic amphibians. It is used primarily for navigation, hunting, and schooling. Humans have a basic relative-pressure detection ability when eustachian tube(s) are blocked, as demonstrated in the ear's response to changes in altitude.
  • Polarized light direction / detection is used by bees to orient themselves, especially on cloudy days. Cuttlefish can also perceive the polarization of light.

See also

References

External links

sensible in Catalan: Sentit
sensible in Czech: Smysl (biologie)
sensible in Danish: Sans (organisme)
sensible in German: Sinn (Wahrnehmung)
sensible in Spanish: Sentido
sensible in Esperanto: Senso
sensible in French: Sens (physiologie)
sensible in Korean: 감각
sensible in Ido: Senso
sensible in Indonesian: Indera
sensible in Icelandic: Skynfæri
sensible in Italian: Organi di senso
sensible in Hebrew: חוש
sensible in Dutch: Zintuig
sensible in Japanese: 感覚
sensible in Polish: Zmysł
sensible in Portuguese: Sentido
sensible in Russian: Ощущение
sensible in Simple English: Sense
sensible in Finnish: Aisti
sensible in Swedish: Sinne
sensible in Turkish: Duyu
sensible in Walloon: Cénk sinses
sensible in Yiddish: שפיראכץ
sensible in Chinese: 感官

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

acknowledging, acquainted with, admissible, alive to, all there, all-knowing, apperceptive, appercipient, appreciable, appreciative, appreciative of, apprehending, apprehensible, apprehensive, apprised of, ascertainable, awake to, aware, aware of, balanced, behind the curtain, behind the scenes, beholden, bright, budget, cheap, clearheaded, clearminded, cogent, cognizable, cognizant, cognizant of, commonsense, compos mentis, comprehending, conceptive, conceptual, concrete, conscious, conscious of, considerable, cool, coolheaded, corporeal, credible, crediting, delicate, detectable, discernible, discreet, discursive, down-to-earth, earthy, easy, economic, economy, emotionable, evident, feeling, frugal, good, grateful, gross, hardheaded, healthy-minded, hep to, ideational, impressible, impressionable, impressive, in the know, in the secret, indebted to, inexpensive, informed of, insightful, intellectual, intelligent, judicious, just, justifiable, knowing, knowledgeable, legitimate, let into, levelheaded, live, logical, low, low-priced, lucid, manageable, manifest, material, matter-of-fact, mentally sound, mindful, mindful of, moderate, modest, much obliged, no stranger to, noetic, nominal, normal, not so dumb, noticeable, objective, obliged, observable, obvious, of sound mind, omniscient, on to, palpable, passible, patent, perceivable, perceptible, perceptive, percipient, perspicacious, phenomenal, philosophical, physical, plausible, ponderable, positivistic, practical, practical-minded, pragmatic, prehensile, privy to, prudent, rational, real, realist, realistic, reasonable, reasoned, receptive, recognizable, respectable, responsive, right, sagacious, sage, sane, sane-minded, scientific, scientistic, secular, seeable, seized of, sensational, sensible of, sensible to, sensile, sensitive, sensitive to, sentient, shabby, shoddy, shrewd, significant, sober, sober-minded, soft, softhearted, solid, sophic, sound, sound-minded, sound-thinking, straight-thinking, streetwise, strong-minded, substantial, substantive, susceptible, susceptive, sympathetic, tangible, tender, tenderhearted, thankful, together, token, undeceived, under obligation, understanding, unexpensive, unideal, unidealistic, unromantic, unsentimental, visible, warmhearted, weighable, well-argued, well-balanced, well-founded, well-grounded, well-thought-out, wholesome, wise, wise to, within means, worldly, worth the money
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