The original meaning ‘relating to sensation or the senses’, first attested in the mid-19c, has been all but driven out by its extended meaning ‘causing or intended to cause an exciting or startling effect’ (i.e. causing a sensation in the corresponding sense):

• The inquest was one of the most sensational legal dramas of the time —BBC Press Release, 2004 [OEC].

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • Sensational — Sen*sa tion*al, a. 1. Of or pertaining to sensation; as, sensational nerves. [1913 Webster] 2. Of or pertaining to sensationalism, or the doctrine that sensation is the sole origin of knowledge. [1913 Webster] 3. Suited or intended to excite… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sensational — [adj1] startling, exaggerated amazing, arresting, astounding, breathtaking, coarse, colored, conspicuous, dramatic, electrifying, emotional, excessive, exciting, extravagant, hair raising, horrifying, juicy*, livid, lurid, marked, melodramatic,… …   New thesaurus

  • sensational — index blatant (conspicuous), lurid, moving (evoking emotion) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • sensational — aiming at violently excited effects, 1863, from SENSATION (Cf. sensation) in its secondary sense. Sensationalism in literature, journalism, etc., first recorded 1865 …   Etymology dictionary

  • sensational — ► ADJECTIVE 1) causing or seeking to cause great public interest and excitement. 2) informal very impressive or attractive. DERIVATIVES sensationalize (also sensationalise) verb sensationally adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • sensational — [sen sā′shə nəl] adj. 1. of the senses or sensation 2. of, or in accordance with, philosophical sensationalism 3. a) arousing intense interest and excitement; startling; exciting b) using or having effects intended to startle, shock, thrill, etc …   English World dictionary

  • sensational — [[t]sense͟ɪʃən(ə)l[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED A sensational result, event, or situation is so remarkable that it causes great excitement and interest. The world champions suffered a sensational defeat. Syn: dramatic Derived words: sensationally ADV… …   English dictionary

  • sensational — sen|sa|tion|al [senˈseıʃənəl] adj 1.) very interesting, exciting, and surprising ▪ a sensational discovery ▪ The show was a sensational success. ▪ a sensational 6 0 victory 2.) intended to interest, excite, or shock people used in order to show… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • sensational — sen|sa|tion|al [ sen seıʃənl ] adjective 1. ) very exciting and surprising: The team is still celebrating after their sensational Super Bowl victory. 2. ) a sensational way of describing something makes it seem more exciting or shocking than it… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • sensational — UK [senˈseɪʃ(ə)nəl] / US [senˈseɪʃən(ə)l] adjective 1) very exciting and surprising The team are still celebrating after their sensational victory in the FA Cup. 2) a sensational way of describing something makes it seem more exciting or shocking …   English dictionary

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