Definition of sensation in English:

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Pronunciation: /senˈsāSH(ə)n/


1A physical feeling or perception resulting from something that happens to or comes into contact with the body: a burning sensation in the middle of the chest
More example sentences
  • Does my body remember the physical sensation of holding an item, and transfer this feeling to the virtual environment, though my mind has since forgotten?
  • Let your mind be quiet, and observe the sensations of your physical body - blood flow, heartbeat, lungs moving, an itch.
  • Putting the glass back down on the table, he let his gaze settle on Ali as she leant back in her chair, closing her eyes and shuddering slightly as the burning sensation spread throughout her body.
1.1The capacity to have physical sensations: they had lost sensation in one or both forearms
More example sentences
  • In the case of sensation, the capacity for perception in the sense organ is actualized by the operation on it of the perceptible object.
  • That feels or is capable of feeling; having the power or function of sensation or of perception by the senses.
  • In perception and in sensation, consciousness need not reside in the intentional objects of awareness in order for the state of awareness to be conscious.
1.2An inexplicable awareness or impression: [with clause]: she had the eerie sensation that she was being watched
More example sentences
  • A toxic cloud at the edge of awareness, a sensation that something is amiss?
  • Just the eerie sensation that was present in the creepy scenery.
  • Rick felt massive electromagnetic fields in several rooms in Duff Green, a sensation that confirms to him the presence of paranormal activity.
feeling, sense, awareness, consciousness, perception, impression
2A widespread reaction of interest and excitement: his arrest for poisoning caused a sensation
More example sentences
  • To say this book caused a sensation is to understate its impact.
  • Her case caused a sensation earlier in the year and outraged her parents.
  • It naturally caused a sensation and there was a temporary surge of interest.
commotion, stir, uproar, furor, scandal, impact;
interest, excitement
informal splash, to-do, hullabaloo, hoopla
2.1A person, object, or event that arouses widespread interest and excitement: she was a sensation, the talk of the evening
More example sentences
  • Each dish is an unprecedented sensation, and the idea of ever again considering eating anything I'd previously thought of as food quickly becomes absurd.
  • The contrast of salty cheese, sweet honey and nutty toasted bread is a taste sensation.
  • The Czechs, meanwhile, saw their dreams dashed by this month's sensations, Greece.
triumph, success, sellout;
talking point
informal smash (hit), hit, winner, crowd-pleaser, knockout, blockbuster


Early 17th century: from medieval Latin sensatio(n-), from Latin sensus (see sense).

  • scent from Late Middle English:

    Before it was perfume, scent was a hunting term for a hound's sense of smell. From there it became an odour picked up by a hound, and then in the 15th century a pleasant smell. The word came into medieval English through Old French from Latin sentire ‘to feel or perceive’, from which sensation (early 17th century), sense (Late Middle English), sensible (Late Middle English), sensitive (Late Middle English), sensory (mid 18th century), sentence (Middle English) originally a way of perceiving, and numerous other words without a -c- derive. People started spelling scent with a -c- in the 17th century, but no one knows exactly why.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sen·sa·tion

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