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Sensible vs Wis - What's the difference?

sensible | wis |

As adjectives the difference between sensible and wis

is that sensible is perceptible by the senses while wis is (rare|obsolete|or|dialectal) certain.

As a noun sensible

is (obsolete) sensation; sensibility.

As an adverb wis is

(rare|obsolete|or|dialectal) certainly, surely.

As a verb wis is

(obsolete|or|archaic) to know.




(en adjective)
  • Perceptible by the senses.
  • * Arbuthnot
  • Air is sensible to the touch by its motion.
  • * 1778 , William Lewis, The New Dispensatory (page 91)
  • The sensible qualities of argentina promise no great virtue of this kind; for to the taste it discovers only a slight roughishness, from whence it may be presumed to be entitled to a place only among the milder corroborants.
  • * 1902 , William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience , Folio Society 2008, page 45:
  • It has been vouchsafed, for example, to very few Christian believers to have had a sensible vision of their Saviour.
  • Easily perceived; appreciable.
  • * Sir W. Temple
  • The disgrace was more sensible than the pain.
  • * Adam Smith
  • The discovery of the mines of America does not seem to have had any very sensible effect upon the prices of things in England.
  • (archaic) Able to feel or perceive.
  • * Shakespeare
  • Would your cambric were sensible as your finger.
  • (archaic) Liable to external impression; easily affected; sensitive.
  • a sensible thermometer
  • * Shakespeare
  • with affection wondrous sensible
  • Of or pertaining to the senses; sensory.
  • (archaic) Cognizant; having the perception of something; aware of something.
  • * John Locke
  • He cannot think at any time, waking or sleeping, without being sensible of it.
  • * Addison
  • They are now sensible it would have been better to comply than to refuse.
  • Acting with or showing good sense; able to make good judgements based on reason.
  • * 2005 , .
  • They ask questions of someone who thinks he's got something sensible to say on some matter when actually he hasn't.
  • Characterized more by usefulness or practicality than by fashionableness, especially of clothing.
  • * 1999 , Neil Gaiman, Stardust (2001 Perennial Edition), page 8,
  • They would walk, on fair evenings, around the village, and discuss the theory of crop rotation, and the weather, and other such sensible matters.

    Usage notes

    * "Sensible" describes the reasonable way in which a person may think'' about things or ''do things: *: It wouldn't be sensible to start all over again now. * "Sensitive" describes an emotional way in which a person may react to things: *: He has always been a sensitive child. *: I didn’t realize she was so sensitive about her work.


    (en noun)
  • (obsolete) Sensation; sensibility.
  • * Milton
  • Our temper changed which must needs remove the sensible of pain.
  • (obsolete) That which impresses itself on the senses; anything perceptible.
  • * Krauth-Fleming
  • Aristotle distinguished sensibles into common and proper.
  • (obsolete) That which has sensibility; a sensitive being.
  • * Burton
  • This melancholy extends itself not to men only, but even to vegetals and sensibles .



    Alternative forms

    * wiss, ywis, iwis

    Etymology 1

    From (etyl) . More at ywis.


    (en adverb)
  • (rare, obsolete, or, dialectal) Certainly, surely
  • * 1884 , Charlotte Mary Yonge, The armourer's prentices :
  • So I wis would the Dragon under him [...]
  • (rare, obsolete, or, dialectal) Really, truly
  • (rare, obsolete, or, dialectal) Indeed
  • "As wis God helpe me." --Chaucer.


    (en adjective)
  • (rare, obsolete, or, dialectal) Certain
  • (rare, obsolete, or, dialectal) Sure
  • He was wis on his word
    Derived terms
    * (l)

    Etymology 2

    From an incorrect division, mistaking . See ywis for more information. The German verb wissen'' appears similar, but in fact corresponds etymologically to the English verb ''wit ; both of those verbs are only indirectly related to this one.


  • (obsolete, or, archaic) To know.
  • (obsolete, or, archaic) To think, suppose.
  • "Howe'er you wis ." --R. Browning.
  • (obsolete, or, archaic) To imagine, ween; to deem.
  • Nor do I know how long it is (For I have lain entranced, I wis ). --Coleridge.