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1. a faculty by which the conditions or properties of things are perceived. Five major senses were traditionally considered: vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. In addition, equilibrium, hunger, thirst, malaise, pain, and other types of senses have been distinguished. The operation of all senses involves the reception of stimuli by sense organs, each of which is sensitive to a particular kind of stimulus. The eyes are sensitive to light; the ears, to sound; the olfactory organs, to odor; and the taste buds, to taste. Various sense organs of the skin and other tissues are sensitive to touch, pain, temperature, and other sensations. On receiving stimuli, the sense organ translates them into nerve impulses that are transmitted along the sensory nerves to the brain. In the cerebral cortex, the impulses are interpreted, or perceived, as sensations. The brain associates them with other information, acts upon them, and stores them as memory. See also nervous system and brain.
2. pertaining to the sense strand of a nucleic acid.
sense of equilibrium the sense of maintenance of or divergence from an upright position, controlled by receptors in the vestibule of the ear.
kinesthetic sense muscle sense.
light sense the faculty by which degrees of brilliancy are distinguished.
muscle sense (muscular sense) the faculty by which muscular movements are perceived.
pain sense nociception.
position sense (posture sense) a variety of muscular sense by which the position or attitude of the body or its parts is perceived.
pressure sense the faculty by which pressure upon the surface of the body is perceived.
sixth sense the general feeling of consciousness of the entire body; cenesthesia.
somatic s's senses other than the special senses; these include touch, kinesthesia, nociception, pressure sense, temperature sense, and muscle sense, among others.
space sense the faculty by which relative positions and relations of objects in space are perceived.
special s's the senses of vision, hearing, taste, and smell; equilibrium is sometimes considered a special sense, but touch usually is not. See also somatic senses.
stereognostic sense the sense by which form and solidity are perceived.
The ability to distinguish differences of temperature.
[thermo- + G. aisthēsis, sensation]
The ability to detect differences of temperature. The receptors for heat and cold are free nerve endings in the dermis; sensory impulses may be perceived by the thalamus as a poorly localized temperature sensation. The sensory area of the parietal lobe can localize the sensation much more precisely. Adaptation is fairly rapid unless the temperature is extreme. Synonym: thermal sense; thermesthesia; thermic sense
See also: sense