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English definition of “sensitive”

sensitive

adjective uk   /ˈsen.sɪ.tɪv/ us    /-sə.t̬ɪv/

sensitive adjective (UPSET)

B2 easily upset by the things people say or do, or causing people to be upset, embarrassed, or angry: Her reply showed that she was very sensitive to criticism. He was very sensitive about his scar and thought everyone was staring at him.Becoming too excited and easily upset B2 A sensitive subject, situation, etc. needs to be dealt with carefully in order to avoid upsetting people: Sex education and birth control are sensitive issues. The stolen car contained military documents described as very sensitive.Complicated and difficult to doDifficult to understand

sensitive adjective (KIND)

B2 understanding what other people need, and being helpful and kind to them: Representatives of the company claim their plan will be sensitive to local needs. In the movie, he plays a concerned and sensitive father trying to bring up two teenage children on his own.Sympathy and compassionKind and thoughtfulEmpathy and sensitivitySympathy and compassion

sensitive adjective (REACTING EASILY)

B2 easily influenced, changed, or damaged, especially by a physical activity or effect: Some people's teeth are highly sensitive to cold. sensitive skinReacting and responding B2 Sensitive equipment is able to record small changes: The patient's responses are recorded on a sensitive piece of equipment which gives extremely accurate readings.Machinery and machinesHousehold equipment and domestic chores
-sensitive
suffix uk   /-sen.sɪ.tɪv/ us    /-sə.t̬ɪv/
light-/heat-sensitiveReacting and responding
sensitively
adverb uk   /-li/ us  
This is a very delicate situation and it needs to be handled sensitively.Sympathy and compassionEmpathy and sensitivitySympathy and compassion
sensitiveness
noun [U] uk   /-nəs/ us  
Sympathy and compassionEmpathy and sensitivitySympathy and compassionComplicated and difficult to doDifficult to understand
(Definition of sensitive from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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