n. pl. sen·si·tiv·i·ties
a. The quality or condition of being sensitive: sensitivity to the concerns of others.
b. The capacity to respond to changes in the environment.
2. The degree of response of a receiver or instrument to an incoming signal or to a change in the incoming signal, as in FM radio.
3. The degree of response to light, especially to light of a specified wavelength, as in photographic film.
4. The proportion of individuals in a population with a particular disease or condition that are correctly identified when administered a test for that disease or condition.
5. Biology The response or degree of response, as of a cell, tissue, or organism, to a chemical substance or stimulus, such as a toxin, infectious agent, hormone, allergen, or antigen: insulin sensitivity.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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.