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“sensibel” is not “sensible”

This is a pair of false friends that can actually lead to some confusion because you can go for years without ever noticing that you misunderstood it.

The English sensible is roughly about the idea that something makes sense or is prudent or that something can be perceived.
The German sensibel on the other hand actually means sensitive, so it’s about “being good at feeling, perceiving“.
So if you see this:

  • Thomas ist sehr sensibel.

That does NOT mean that Thomas is a reasonable guy, but that he is very sensitive and easy to be hurt.

The proper translation for English sensible depends on the context. If it’s about prudent, then sinnvoll and vernünftig are the best options. If it’s about perceivable, then spürbar or wahrnehmbar are the best options.

If you want to learn a little more about this and see some examples, check out this article on YourDailyGerman:

sensible vs sensibel – False Friends Explained