a. A perception associated with stimulation of a sense organ or with a specific body condition: the sensation of heat; a visual sensation.
b. The faculty to feel or perceive; physical sensibility: The patient has very little sensation left in the right leg.
c. An indefinite generalized body feeling: a sensation of lightness.
2. A state of heightened interest or emotion: "The anticipation produced in me a sensation somewhat between bliss and fear" (James Weldon Johnson).
a. A state of intense public interest and excitement: "The purser made a sensation as sailors like to do, by predicting a storm" (Evelyn Waugh).
b. A cause of such interest and excitement: The band's new singer is a sensation.
[French, from Old French, from Medieval Latin sēnsātiō, sēnsātiōn-, from Late Latin sēnsātus, gifted with sense; see SENSATE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.