Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 3, 2019 is:
sentient • \SEN-shee-unt\ • adjective
1 : responsive to or conscious of sense impressions
2 : having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge : aware
3 : finely sensitive in perception or feeling
“Frightened of the potential that a vast automated intelligence represents, we often portray sentient intelligences as the equivalent of machine gods—ones that, in many cases, find us wanting.” — Mark Hachman, PC Magazine, 15 Apr. 2013
“Diana’s hippie-Wiccan aunts … live in one of the tale’s more charming inventions: a funky, sentient house that rattles the crockery when it’s irritated and supplies flashbacks by conjuring up life-size holographic scenes in situ.” — Mike Hale, The New York Times, 18 Jan. 2019
Did you know?
You may have guessed that sentient has something to do with the senses. The initial spelling sent- or sens- is often a giveaway for such a meaning. A sentient being is one who perceives and responds to sensations of whatever kind—sight, hearing, touch, taste, or smell. Sentient ultimately comes from the Latin verb sentire, which means “to feel” or “to perceive,” and is related to the noun sensus, meaning “sense.” A few related English words are sentiment and sentimental, which have to do with emotions, sensual, which relates to more physical sensations, and the trio of assent, consent, and dissent, which involve one’s expressions of agreement (or disagreement in the case of dissent) in thought and feeling with another.
March 03, 2019 at 01:00PM