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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Insensibility \In*sen`si*bil"i*ty\, n. [Cf. F. insensibilit['e].]

  1. The state or quality of being insensible; lack of sensibility; torpor; unconsciousness; as, the insensibility produced by a fall, or by opiates.

  2. Lack of tenderness or susceptibility of emotion or passion; dullness; stupidity.

    Syn: Dullness; numbness; unfeelingness; stupidity; torpor; apathy; impassiveness; indifference.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., from Late Latin insensibilitas, from Latin insensibilis (see insensible).


n. The property of being insensible.

  1. n. a lack of sensibility [ant: sensibility]

  2. devoid of passion or feeling [syn: unfeelingness, callousness, hardness]


"Insensibility" is a poem written by Wilfred Owen during the First World War which explores the effect of warfare on soldiers, and the long- and short-term psychological effects that it has on them. The poem's title refers to the fact that the soldiers have lost the ability to feel due to the horrors which they faced on the Western Front during the First World War.

Insensibility (disambiguation)

" Insensibility" is a poem written by Wilfred Owen during the First World War which explores the effect of warfare on soldiers.

Insensibility may also refer to:

  • Insensibility (intelligence), a lack of understanding, reason, wit, or sense
  • Insensibility (psychological attitude), a state of indifference
  • Insensibility (symptom), a dramatic alteration of mental state that involves complete or near-complete lack of responsiveness to people and other environmental stimuli

Usage examples of "insensibility".

Is it a confession that in other experiments such a state of deep insensibility was not invariably produced?

What Macbeth and his wife lack at first as thorough-going murderers is that complete insensibility to taking human life that marks the really ruthless assassin.

From the flame of consciousness to the darkness of insensibility, swooping mothlike between the two, I grew inexorably weaker, fuzzy-headed, and very much hotter.

From the rude violences of the age of stone,--a relic of which we may find in the practice of Zipporah, the wife of Moses,--to the delicate operations of to-day upon patients lulled into temporary insensibility, is a progress which presupposes a skill in metallurgy and in the labors of the workshop and the laboratory it has taken uncounted generations to accumulate.

With an insensibility to danger which I cannot call to mind without shuddering, we threw ourselves down the depths of the ravine, startling its savage solitudes with the echoes produced by the falling fragments of rock we every moment dislodged from their places, careless of the insecurity of our footing, and reckless whether the slight roots and twigs we clutched at sustained us for the while, or treacherously yielded to our grasp.

One of them ruptured in a flurry of pain, the thought currents fragmenting into comate insensibility.

  Whatever aera is chosen for that purpose, the death of the apostles, the conversion of the Roman empire, or the extinction of the Arian heresy, ^82 the insensibility of the Christians who lived at that time will equally afford a just matter of surprise.

Her belief that it had come thence was nourished by testimony, the space of blackness wherein she had lived since, exhausting her last vitality in a simulation of infantile happiness, which was nothing other than the carrying on of her emotion of the moment of sharp sour sweet--such as it may be, the doomed below attain for their knowledge of joy--when, at the first meeting with her lover, the perception of his treachery to the soul confiding in him, told her she had lived, and opened out the cherishable kingdom of insensibility to her for her heritage.

Incapable of conceiving the motives which sometimes transported the fortitude of believers beyond the bounds of prudence or reason, they treated such an eagerness to die as the strange result of obstinate despair, of stupid insensibility, or of superstitious frenzy.

Charles, who was irritated enough by all this bland insensibility to sympathize with his sister, said dampingly that they had as yet no reason to suppose that Sophia would be in the least charming.

For sometime already Mr Verloc's immobility by the side of the arm- chair resembled a state of collapsed coma - a sort of passive insensibility interrupted by slight convulsive starts, such as may be observed in the domestic dog having a nightmare on the hearthrug.

I replied, rising from the chair in which I had, on this occasion, neither suffered the tortures inflicted upon those condemned to the nether regions by the just judgement of the Almighty nor experienced the miracle of complete insensibility granted through the agency of the dentist's chloroform, but merely undergone some tiny and transitory discomfort whilst Vankirk removed the wire tethering the transplanted tooth to its natural neighbor.

The mind, by being continually applied to the consideration of ways and means to gain money, contracts an indifferency if not an insensibility to the profusion of beauties which the benevolent Creator has impressed upon every part of the material creation.