Origin: Cf. F. Sensibilite, LL. Sensibilitas.

1. <physiology> The quality or state of being sensible, or capable of sensation; capacity to feel or perceive.

2. The capacity of emotion or feeling, as distinguished from the intellect and the will; peculiar susceptibility of impression, pleasurable or painful; delicacy of feeling; quick emotion or sympathy; as, sensibility to pleasure or pain; sensibility to shame or praise; exquisite sensibility; often used in the plural. "Sensibilities so fine!" "The true lawgiver ought to have a heart full of sensibility." (Burke) "His sensibilities seem rather to have been those of patriotism than of wounded pride." (Marshall)

3. Experience of sensation; actual feeling. "This adds greatly to my sensibility." (Burke)

4. That quality of an instrument which makes it indicate very slight changes of condition; delicacy; as, the sensibility of a balance, or of a thermometer.

Synonyms: Taste, susceptibility, feeling. See Taste.

(01 Mar 1998)