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SAT vocabulary: sentient

What does sentient mean? See the definition below.

Quick Vocab Quiz for the word sentient

First, before you read the explanation, definition, and discussion of the word sentient, try this quick vocab quiz:

sentient most nearly means

(A) feeling (B) old (C) ignoble (D) transitory (E) huge

(Answer is below.)

Part of Speech: ADJECTIVE or NOUN

Pronunciations: IPA: /ˈsɛn.ʃənt/ Glossary-style: [SEN-shunt]

Definition: adj: capable of feeling or experiencing sensation (Ex: Animals are sentient; and, as far as we know, rocks are not.). conscious or aware. noun: a being that experiences sensation or feeling (Ex: the search for a planet peopled with sentients).

Give it to me straight: sentient basically means feeling, as in able to feel feelings, so to speak, such as pain, pleasure, and the like.

People have long had arguments about whether such creatures as animals and insects are sentient, sometimes using an assumed lack of sentience as justification for certain kinds of treatment. For example, I have heard people say that crustaceans (such as lobsters) are not sentient, so it is therefore morally acceptable to kill them to eat.

Example: Animals are sentient beings who express their feelings in a variety of ways, from yelps, coos, meows, and chirps to haiku, novels, photography, and film.

Answer to the quick quiz above:

Answer Click Here to Show the Answer!

By Erin Billy

Founder of TestMagic, Inc. in San Francisco, USA.

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