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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Insensible \In*sen"si*ble\, a. [L. insensibilis: cf. F. insensible. See In- not, and Sensible.]

  1. Destitute of the power of feeling or perceiving; wanting bodily sensibility; unconscious.

  2. Not susceptible of emotion or passion; void of feeling; apathetic; unconcerned; indifferent; as, insensible to danger, fear, love, etc.; -- often used with of or to.

    Accept an obligation without being a slave to the giver, or insensible to his kindness.
    --Sir H. Wotton.

    Lost in their loves, insensible of shame.

  3. Incapable of being perceived by the senses; imperceptible. Hence: Progressing by imperceptible degrees; slow; gradual; as, insensible motion.

    Two small and almost insensible pricks were found upon Cleopatra's arm.
    --Sir T. Browne.

    They fall away, And languish with insensible decay.

  4. Not sensible or reasonable; meaningless. [Obs.]

    If it make the indictment be insensible or uncertain, it shall be quashed.
    --Sir M. Hale.

  5. Incapable of feeling a specific sensation or emotion; as, insensible to pity.

    Syn: Imperceptible; imperceivable; dull; stupid; torpid; numb; unfeeling; apathetic; stoical; impassive; indifferent; unsusceptible; hard; callous.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1400, "lacking the power to feel with the senses," from Latin insensibilis "that cannot be felt," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + sensibilis (see sensible). Also sometimes in Middle English "incapable of being felt or perceived by the senses" (early 15c.). Meaning "unconscious" is attested from early 15c. See insensate.


a. 1 Unable to be perceived by the sense. 2 Incapable or deprived of physical sensation.

  1. adj. incapable of physical sensation; "insensible to pain"; "insensible earth" [ant: sensible]

  2. (followed by `to' or `by') unaware of or indifferent to; "insensible to the suffering around him" [syn: insensible(p), unaffected(p)]

  3. barely able to be perceived; "the transition was almost indiscernible"; "an almost insensible change" [syn: indiscernible, undetectable]

  4. unresponsive to stimulation; "he lay insensible where he had fallen"; "drugged and senseless" [syn: senseless]

Usage examples of "insensible".

Such are some of the reasons which induce doubt of the theory that all of the experiments of these vivisectors were conducted upon animals wholly insensible to painful impressions.

Glaucus was evidently drunk--nay, so much so as to have been quite insensible when taken up, and I hear is still delirious--whether with wine, terror, remorse, the Furies, or the Bacchanals, I cannot say.

Karitha of East End, a demonologist, had been beaten into unconsciousness in her own parlor, her throat cut as she lay insensible.

In the evening I went to see the syndic and his three friends, who naturally found me rather insensible to their charms.

To do otherwise would seriously hamper me at present, since Usara has gone and Otrick is still insensible.

The cold American is insensible to art, and shivers in the presence of the warmest historical associations.

I was insensible, but it must have been a good while, for, when I came to, the darkness was all gone and there was the loveliest sunshine and the balmiest, fragrantest air in its place.

We have already observed that nature has established connexions among particular ideas, and that no sooner one idea occurs to our thoughts than it introduces its correlative, and carries our attention towards it, by a gentle and insensible movement.

We shall hereafter see that the filaments on the leaves of Dionaea are likewise insensible to the impact of fluids, though exquisitely sensitive to momentary touches from any solid body.

Tears had fallen on that honest, insensible face,--tears of late repentance in the poor, ignorant heathen, whom his dying love and patience had awakened to repentance, and bitter prayers, breathed over him to a late-found Saviour, of whom they scarce knew more than the name, but whom the yearning ignorant heart of man never implores in vain.

They appeared to me to be quite beyond his comprehension, for when Caddy took me into the dining-room by mistake and we came upon Mr. Jellyby in his spectacles, forlornly fenced into a corner by the great dining-table and the two gentlemen, he seemed to have given up the whole thing and to be speechless and insensible.

And never believe, dear dear Mr. Woodcourt, never believe that I forget this night or that while my heart beats it can be insensible to the pride and joy of having been beloved by you.

I could see that she was neither cold nor insensible, and that the obstacles she had put in my way were only suggested by fear and virtue.

George was of a compassionate disposition, and notwithstanding a small breach of friendship which he had been over-tempted to commit, was, in the main, not insensible of the obligations he had formerly received from Mr.

I tried this experiment repeatedly, as I was much surprised at the fact, for all other parts of the pedicels are insensible to any stimulus.