sen·si·tive / ˈsensitiv/ • adj. 1. quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences: the new method of protein detection was more sensitive than earlier ones spiders are sensitive to vibrations on their web. ∎ easily damaged, injured, or distressed by slight changes: the committee called for improved protection of wildlife in environmentally sensitive areas. ∎ (of photographic materials) prepared so as to respond rapidly to the action of light. ∎ (of a market) unstable and liable to quick changes of price because of outside influences. 2. (of a person or a person's behavior) having or displaying a quick and delicate appreciation of others' feelings: I pay tribute to the Minister for his sensitive handling of the bill. ∎ easily offended or upset: I suppose I shouldn't be so sensitive. 3. kept secret or with restrictions on disclosure to avoid endangering security: he was suspected of passing sensitive information to other countries. • n. a person who is believed to respond to occult influences. DERIVATIVES: sen·si·tive·ly adv. sen·si·tive·ness n.