• Eyes see object
  • Ears hear sound
  • Tongue tastes flavor
  • Nose smells scent
  • Skin touches texture

Eye, ear, tongue, nose and skin are senses. Is there a word for object, sound, flavor, scent, texture in general?

  • 1
    I'm getting a sensation, but the word isn't quite coming to me. – Hot Licks Jun 17 '20 at 17:26
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    None of the things you're calling senses are senses. The five senses are sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. What you're calling senses (eyes, ears, tongue, nose, and skin) are just organs. – Jason Bassford Jun 17 '20 at 22:12

Stimulus or, more specifically, sensory stimulus.

In physiology, a stimulus (plural stimuli or stimuluses)[1] is a detectable change in the physical or chemical structure of an organism's internal or external environment. The ability of an organism or organ to respond to external stimuli is called sensitivity. Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stimulus_%28physiology%29

  • It might be better to format more clearly; the phrase external environment might be highlighted to advantage. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 17 '20 at 14:52

The short answer is ‘yes’

The mid twentieth linguistic philosopher used a witty allusion to the novelist, Jane Austen, when he chose, as the title for his book on epistemology

Sense and Sensibilia.

The usual terms used at that time were either sense objects or sense data. This would do fine, if you were not looking for something that would make interesting conversation over the dinner.

You could try the neuter passive participle of the Latin word for to sense:

sensum, which would mean a sensed thing (plural sensa, though you use sensa as we use data, hovering somewhere between singular and plural.).

In fact, much to my surprise, the word sensa does have a history. Merriam-Webster offers it as “Collegiate”, used first in 1864 and meaning “sense datum”

The trouble with that is that before you could use it, you would have to explain it to the guests, and that it would be a risky social gambit. Even in formal academic writing you might need to explain it. The battles over whether we can ever have certain knowledge of the world outside through the senses are at best dormant, people still read or are aware of René Descartes’ thoughts on this subject.

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    Yes, that's okay but in the scientific field of physiology (which this appears to be), the commonly used word is "stimulus" as I say in my answer. – chasly - supports Monica Jun 17 '20 at 14:54
  • @chasly from UK Yes, that is also a possibility. 'Stimulus' goes with 'response', which, in the case of plants, at least, does not necessary entail sensation (or at least, arguably not). 'Stimulus' has the big advantage, however, that the word is widely known, unlike my 'sensa'. – Tuffy Jun 17 '20 at 16:19

Your question: Eye, ear, tongue, nose and skin are senses. Is there a word for object, sound, flavor, scent, texture in general?

I would call "object, sound, flavor, scent, texture" sensory inputs (or sensory modality inputs). Lots of references, e.g., Wikipedia:

Sensory processing is the process that organizes sensation from one’s own body and the environment, thus making it possible to use the body effectively within the environment. Specifically, it deals with how the brain processes multiple sensory modality inputs, such as proprioception, vision, auditory system, tactile, olfactory, vestibular system, interoception, and taste into usable functional outputs.

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