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What are the adjective counterparts for "sense" and "sensibility" as in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility?

Would the one for "sensibility" be "sensible"?

What is the one for "sense"? Does it have the same meaning as "rational"?

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I think OP has the first pairing wrong. The adjectival counterparts of the novel title are sense:sensible and sensibility:[emotionally] sensitive. –  FumbleFingers Sep 21 '11 at 16:02
    
How does "sensible" mean the opposite of "sensibility"? –  Tim Sep 21 '11 at 16:05
    
I assumed by "adjective counterpart" you simply meant the adjectival forms corresponding to the two nouns in the book title. Which I understand as a play on words where sense refers to rational decision-making, and sensibility refers to the emotions which may run counter to that rationalism. That's the only kind of "opposite" I see here. –  FumbleFingers Sep 21 '11 at 17:19
    
@Tim: He didn't say opposite, just incorrect. –  Daniel Sep 21 '11 at 17:30
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The word sensible is an adjective counterpart to both words.

From Merriam-Webster:

3b: emotionally aware and responsive [we are sensible of your problems]
4: having, containing, or indicative of good sense or reason : rational, reasonable [sensible people] [made a sensible answer]

So 3b: corresponds to sensibility and 4: corresponds to sense. Isn't English a wonderful language?

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Yes and no. No because it is confusing. –  Tim Sep 21 '11 at 16:09
    
Can I add a virtual :-) to my answer? –  Peter Shor Sep 21 '11 at 16:13
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I am sensible of the fact that you find this sensible. –  JeffSahol Sep 21 '11 at 16:14
    
@JeffSahol: Now you confuse me. Peter: As you please. :) –  Tim Sep 21 '11 at 16:16
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@Peter: I think you've made pretty much the same distinction I was getting at in my comment to the question. The problem, as evidenced by Jeff's comment above, is that both sense and sensibility have a range of potential meanings. Lucky for Austen, as it gave her the chance to create a memorable book title wherein we're invited to consider a particular pair of those meanings which can (given the right novel as context) be seen as opposites. –  FumbleFingers Sep 21 '11 at 17:26
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Meaning may have shifted since the novel was written, but I think you are right about "sense" being "rational". "Sensibility" corresponds to "perceptive" or "sensitive".

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