Meaning of SENSIBLE in English



1. people

2. decisions/plans/ideas/actions

3. to start behaving sensibly after not being sensible

4. to try to persuade someone to behave sensibly

5. the ability to make sensible decisions





see also




1. people

▷ sensible /ˈsensɪb ə l, ˈsensəb ə l/ [adjective]

someone who is sensible is unlikely to do anything stupid, because they judge situations well and make good decisions :

▪ Laura’s a pretty sensible girl. I don’t think she’d talk to strangers.

▪ He’s one of the few sensible people on the council.

be sensible


▪ Be sensible - you can’t go out without a coat in this weather.

sensible about

▪ People are far more sensible about what and how much they drink these days.

▷ reasonable /ˈriːz ə nəb ə l/ [adjective]

someone who is reasonable makes sensible decisions that are fair to everyone :

▪ She’s usually very reasonable as a boss, but now and again her temper flares up.

▪ Let’s try and discuss this in a calm and reasonable way.

be reasonable


▪ Be reasonable, Paul - I’m only trying to help.

▷ responsible /rɪˈspɒnsɪb ə l, rɪˈspɒnsəb ə lǁrɪˈspɑːn-/ [adjective]

someone who is responsible can be trusted to do what they should do and to think about the results of their actions :

▪ We aim to educate our children to become socially responsible citizens.

▪ I’m a responsible adult. I can make my own choices.

responsibly [adverb]

▪ People should have their driving licences taken away if they can’t drive responsibly.

▷ mature /məˈtʃʊəʳ/ [adjective]

a child or young person who is mature behaves in a sensible way, as you would expect an older person to behave :

▪ She’s very mature for her age.

▪ After two years of college, the students have a much more mature attitude.

maturity [uncountable noun]

▪ Ask yourself if you have the maturity and stability to raise a baby.

▷ rational /ˈræʃ ə nəl/ [adjective]

if someone is rational, their actions are based on a clear understanding of the facts of a situation, and are not influenced by their feelings or imagination :

▪ Taking action to defend yourself is a completely rational reaction if you’re being attacked.

▪ Many of the patients have long histories of drug abuse, and they’re not always rational.

rationally [adverb]

▪ Do people behave completely rationally when they vote in elections?

▷ practical/realistic/pragmatic /ˈpræktɪk ə l, ˌrɪəˈlɪstɪk◂, prægˈmætɪk/ [adjective]

having the ability to understand situations and to know what is or is not possible :

▪ She’s a practical manager who realizes that a happy workforce is also a productive one.

▪ The people of this country need to be more realistic - you can’t have lower taxes as well as higher spending on health and pensions.

▪ She is a tough, pragmatic, intuitive leader.

▷ no-nonsense /nəʊ ˈnɒns ə nsǁ-ˈnɑːnsens/ []

direct and dealing with things in a practical way, without wasting time on things that do not matter :

▪ Mathews is a no-nonsense veteran of the police department.

▪ Jason, with his no-nonsense approach, has been an asset to the project.

▷ down-to-earth /ˌdaʊn tʊ ˈɜːʳθ◂/ [adjective]

someone who is down-to-earth is practical and honest, and does not think they are more important, more intelligent etc than other people :

▪ She’s sophisticated, but also practical and down-to-earth.

▪ People are surprised by what an unpretentious, down-to-earth guy he really is.

▷ talk sense /ˌtɔːk ˈsens/ [verb phrase] especially spoken

if someone talks sense, they express sensible ideas or opinions that you agree with :

▪ Someone who could talk sense would get my vote, but most politicians don’t.

▷ have your head screwed on British /have your head screwed on right American /hæv jɔːʳ ˈhed skruːd ɒn, hæv jɔːʳ ˈhed skruːd ɒn ˌraɪt/ [verb phrase not in progressive]

use this about someone who will always behave sensibly in a difficult or confusing situation :

▪ Don’t worry about Sheila. She’s got her head screwed on.

▪ Anyone who can raise three such normal kids in Hollywood must have their head screwed on right.

▷ sane /seɪn/ [adjective]

able to think clearly and likely to behave in a sensible way, especially when other people are not being sensible :

▪ I don’t think any sane person would take his threats seriously.

▪ It was a relief to hear one sane voice among all the shouting and hysteria.

keep somebody sane

▪ Exercise keeps me sane. If I didn’t exercise, the stress would get to me.

2. decisions/plans/ideas/actions

▷ sensible /ˈsensɪb ə l, ˈsensəb ə l/ [adjective]

a sensible decision, idea, plan etc is likely to have good results because it is based on good, practical reasons :

▪ He gave me some very sensible advice.

▪ If anyone has any sensible suggestions as to how to deal with this, please let me know.

it is sensible to do something

▪ It would have been more sensible to save the money than to spend it all on clothes.

the sensible thing to do

used to give advice

▪ The sensible thing to do would be to rest until you feel better.

sensibly [adverb]

▪ She had sensibly decided to leave the car at home.

▷ make sense /ˌmeɪk ˈsens/ [verb phrase] especially spoken

if something makes sense, it seems a very sensible thing to do :

▪ There are parts of the plan that simply don’t make sense.

it makes sense (for somebody) to do something

▪ It made sense for Sam to live nearer the college.

▪ It may not make sense to rebuild the houses damaged by the floods.

▷ be a good idea /biː ə ˌgʊd aɪˈdɪə/ [verb phrase] especially spoken

to seem to be the right and sensible thing to do :

▪ Yes, I think a short meeting this afternoon would be a good idea.

▪ ‘Should I phone him?’ ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’

it’s a good idea to do something

▪ It’s a good idea to tell a friend if you are going on a date with someone you don’t know well.

▷ reasonable /ˈriːz ə nəb ə l/ [adjective]

a reasonable idea, request, action etc seems sensible and fair, and you can understand the reasons for it :

▪ I thought her request for more information was reasonable, but it was refused.

▪ I’ll go along with any reasonable plan.

it is reasonable to assume/believe/suppose

▪ It’s reasonable to assume that most prices will go up again.

▷ rational /ˈræʃ ə nəl/ [adjective]

based on facts and intelligent thinking, and not influenced by feelings or the imagination :

▪ Education helps us to make rational decisions.

▪ People’s behaviour isn’t always purely rational.

rationally [adverb]

▪ We must consider the problem rationally.

▷ practical/realistic /ˈpræktɪk ə l, ˌrɪəˈlɪstɪk◂/ [adjective]

based on a good understanding of what is or is not possible :

▪ The city authorities are trying to work out a practical solution to the problem of homelessness.

▪ Starting my own business isn’t a very realistic idea at the moment.

▪ If you want to sell your home, be realistic about the price.

▷ pragmatic /prægˈmætɪk/ [adjective]

based on facts and what is likely to really succeed, but not always considering other things such as people’s feelings, or attempting anything more exciting or risky :

▪ Pragmatic considerations led the government to abandon pure Marxist policies.

▪ We need a pragmatic approach to sex education in schools.

▷ logical /ˈlɒdʒɪk ə lǁˈlɑː-/ [adjective]

a logical action or decision seems to be clearly the right thing to do, because it is based on thinking intelligently about all the facts of a situation, and not based on feelings or emotions :

▪ As I wanted to travel to other countries, studying languages was the logical choice.

▪ This is the logical place to build a new airport.

▪ It seemed logical to start by visiting the scene of the crime.

▷ wise /waɪz/ [adjective]

a wise decision or action is based on good judgement and on your experience of life :

▪ ‘I’ve decided to apply for that job.’ ‘I think that’s a very wise decision.’

▪ a wise investment

it is wise (for somebody) to do something

▪ He thought it might be wise not to tell her what had happened.

▪ Do you think it’s wise for him to travel alone?

▷ within reason /wɪðɪn ˈriːz ə n/ [adverb]

according to what is generally accepted as being sensible and reasonable and no more :

▪ Children should, within reason, be able to experiment with many different activities.

▪ Within reason, the city does what it can to prevent traffic accidents.

3. to start behaving sensibly after not being sensible

▷ come to your senses /ˌkʌm tə jɔːʳ ˈsensə̇z/ [verb phrase]

▪ He’d be crazy to leave Liza - it’s about time he came to his senses.

▪ Her parents finally came to their senses and realized they couldn’t force her to marry someone she didn’t like.

▷ see reason /siː ˈriːz ə n/ [verb phrase]

to start behaving sensibly after listening to advice or arguments from other people :

▪ I wish he’d see reason and stop putting so much pressure on me.

▷ get real /get ˈrɪəl/ [verb phrase] spoken

use this to tell someone that they are not being sensible or practical, for example if they think that a difficult problem will be easy to deal with :

▪ Get real. It’s pretty hard for a young woman on her first job to take a case of sexual harassment to court.

▪ ‘We could always ask Dad for more money.’ ‘Get real! We’d be grounded for a month!’

4. to try to persuade someone to behave sensibly

▷ talk some sense into /ˌtɔːk səm ˈsens ɪntuː/ [verb phrase]

▪ It took some time to calm him down and talk some sense into him.

▪ Will you try and talk some sense into him - he says he’s going to drop out of school.

▷ get somebody to see reason /ˌget somebody tə ˌsiː ˈriːz ə n/ [verb phrase]

to manage, with some difficulty, to persuade someone to behave sensibly by talking to them about the situation :

▪ I just can’t get her to see reason.

▪ Eventually we managed to get the border guards to see reason.

▷ bring somebody to their senses /ˌbrɪŋ somebody tə ðeəʳ ˈsensə̇z/ [verb phrase]

if something that has happened, especially an unpleasant surprise, brings someone to their senses, it makes them stop behaving in a stupid way and start behaving sensibly :

▪ Seeing so many friends dying of drug-related illnesses was what brought me to my senses.

▪ It took a lawsuit to bring them to their senses.

5. the ability to make sensible decisions

▷ common sense /ˌkɒmən ˈsens◂ǁˌkɑː-/ [uncountable noun]

the ability to make intelligent, practical decision based on your experience or on what is generally accepted as being true - use this about something that is clearly true, so it is sensible to believe it :

▪ Obviously people are going to respond better to praise than to criticism - that’s just common sense.

common sense tells you ...

▪ Common sense tells you to keep candles away from small children and pets.

have common sense

▪ She’s highly intelligent and intellectual, but she’s got no practical common sense.

use your common sense

▪ It’s not difficult to work out the answer - you just have to use your common sense.

common-sense [adjective only before noun]

▪ She has written a common-sense guide to diet and exercise.

▷ sense/good sense /sens, ˌgʊd ˈsens/ [uncountable noun]

the ability to behave in an intelligent and sensible way, and to avoid doing anything stupid :

▪ I sometimes wish you’d show more sense.

▪ No-one in the group seemed to have Charlie’s good sense.

have the (good) sense to do something

▪ Luckily, Sheena had the good sense to call the police before Baxter left the building.

▪ I’m sure she has too much sense to give him her address.

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