from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A perception associated with stimulation of a sense organ or with a specific body condition.
  • noun The faculty to feel or perceive; physical sensibility.
  • noun An indefinite generalized body feeling.
  • noun A state of heightened interest or emotion.
  • noun A state of intense public interest and excitement.
  • noun A cause of such interest and excitement.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The action, faculty, or immediate mental result of receiving a mental impression from any affection of the bodily organism; sensitive apprehension; corporeal feeling; any feeling; also, the elements of feeling or immediate consciousness and of consciousness of reaction in perception; the subjective element of perception.
  • noun A state of interest or of feeling; especially, a state of excited interest or feeling.
  • noun That which produces sensation or excited interest or feeling: as, the greatest sensation of the day.
  • noun A hypothetical intensity of sensation which exists below the stimulus limen.
  • noun A sense-distance or sense-interval, traversed in the direction opposite to that which has been chosen as the positive Thus, if Sm and Sn are two points upon the scale of brightness qualities such that the distance SmSn represents a just noticeable increase of brightness (positive), then the distance SnSm may be considered negative in regard to Sm-Sn.
  • noun A sensation which lies to the right of the zero-point of the sensation-scale, that is, which belongs to the group of noticeable (as opposed to unnoticeable) sensations.
  • noun A sense-step or sense-distance regarded as traversed in the opposite direction to that taken as negative. Thus, if the sense-distance Sn-Sm be looked upon as negative, then the sense-distance Sm-Sn is positive.
  • noun Specifically, the sensations of dizziness furnished, in all probability, by the semicircular canals of the internal ear.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Physiol.) An impression, or the consciousness of an impression, made upon the central nervous organ, through the medium of a sensory or afferent nerve or one of the organs of sense; a feeling, or state of consciousness, whether agreeable or disagreeable, produced either by an external object (stimulus), or by some change in the internal state of the body.
  • noun A purely spiritual or psychical affection; agreeable or disagreeable feelings occasioned by objects that are not corporeal or material.
  • noun A state of excited interest or feeling, or that which causes it.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A physical feeling or perception from something that comes into contact with the body; something sensed.
  • noun A widespread reaction of interest or excitement.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a general feeling of excitement and heightened interest
  • noun someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field
  • noun an unelaborated elementary awareness of stimulation
  • noun the faculty through which the external world is apprehended
  • noun a state of widespread public excitement and interest


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from Old French, from Medieval Latin sēnsātiō, sēnsātiōn-, from Late Latin sēnsātus, gifted with sense; see sensate.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French, from Medieval Latin sensatio, from Latin sensus.


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  • Alas! it is the narrowness, selfishness, minuteness, of your sensation that you have to deplore in England at this day; —sensation which spends itself in bouquets and speeches; in revelings and junketings; in sham fights and gay puppet shows, while you can look on and see noble nations murdered, man by man, without an effort or a tear.

    Sesame and Lilies. Lecture I.-Sesame: Of Kings’ Treasuries 1909

  • Sexual excitement is accompanied throughout by a sensation of pleasure, specifically known as _voluptuous pleasure_, the _voluptuous sensation_, or simply _voluptuousness_ (in Latin, _libido sexualis_).

    The Sexual Life of the Child Albert Moll 1900

  • It is sensation viewed especially in regard to its object -- _representative sensation_, or the "sensible idea" of modern philosophy.

    Christianity and Greek Philosophy or, the relation between spontaneous and reflective thought in Greece and the positive teaching of Christ and His Apostles 1852

  • If one adopts (b), and something like a Sellarsian or Davidsonian distinction between sensation and thought, putting phenomenal character exclusively on the ˜sensation™ side, and intentionality exclusively on the ˜thought™ side of this divide, the place of consciousness in a philosophical account of knowledge will likely be meager ” at most phenomenal character will be a causal condition, without a role to play in the warrant or justification of claims to knowledge.

    Consciousness and Intentionality Siewert, Charles 2006

  • "The main sensation is that there have been no sensations today," Mr. Azarov said.

    Ukrainians Vote in Local Elections James Marson 2010

  • In psychology, however, the term sensation has been used in two somewhat different meanings.

    Ontario Normal School Manuals: Science of Education Ontario. Ministry of Education

  • "Besides," continued Becker, "if plants really existed, possessing what is understood by the term sensation, they would be animals."

    Willis the Pilot Paul Adrien

  • If all of reality is finally reducible to sensations, then the term sensation must be used in a new sense to connote a self-subsistent being, and can no longer refer merely to a function of certain physiological processes.

    The Approach to Philosophy Ralph Barton Perry 1916

  • The term sensation is at present employed in the same ill-considered manner.

    The Approach to Philosophy Ralph Barton Perry 1916

  • On this second point I will offer, for the time being, one simple remark: we use the term sensation for lack of any other to express the intermediate character of our perception of objects; and this use does not, on our part, imply any hypothesis.

    The Mind and the Brain Being the Authorised Translation of L'Âme et le Corps Alfred Binet 1884


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