The Meaning of Susceptible: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of susceptible? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word susceptible, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word susceptible mean?

According to Cambridge English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary, the word susceptible (pronounced səˈsɛp tə bəl) is an adjective that describes something or someone that is easily influenced or harmed by something. For example, many children are susceptible to frequent ear infections. A doctor might prescribe the susceptible child medicine to have on hand. Some people are susceptible to UTIs – these susceptible individuals might keep cranberry juice or other remedies in their home to help combat it. People can also be susceptible to influence, meaning that they are gullible and take people at their word. The word susceptible can even be used emotionally; for example, someone’s monster of a boss might be susceptible to throwing things at his assistants. The word susceptible is a very versatile word that can be used in a variety of literal and figurative contexts. Try using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today!

There are many different languages that also contain words that mean susceptible. You might notice that a lot of these words look and sound similar to the word susceptible. This is probably because they share a common origin. Often, cognates – which are words that look, sound, and mean something similar across languages – are formed when two words share a common ancestor such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word susceptible is provided by Word Sense.

  • Finnish: altis‎
  • Catalan: susceptible‎
  • Persian: پذیرفتار‎ (paziroftâr)
  • Czech: náchylný‎ (masc.)
  • Hungarian: fogékony‎
  • Arabic: عرضه‎
  • Russian: восприи́мчивый‎, поддаю́щийся‎
  • Swedish: känslig‎, mottaglig‎
  • German: anfällig‎, beeindruckbar‎, empfänglich‎, empfindlich‎, suszeptible‎, anfällig‎
  • Turkish: duyarlı‎, elverişli‎, müsâit‎
  • Polish: podatny‎
  • Spanish: propenso‎, susceptible‎
  • Serbo-Croatian: подложно‎ (neut.)
  • Romanian: susceptibil‎
  • Dutch: vatbaar‎
  • Portuguese: suscetível‎

What is the origin of the word susceptible?

According to Etymonline, the word susceptible has been used since the year 1600. This word comes from the Late Latin susceptibilis, meaning capable or sustainable. This comes from the Latin suscept which is the past participle of suscipere meaning to take or accept. This comes from the prefix sub meaning under and the root capere meaning to take, from the Proto-Indo-European root kap meaning to grasp. Related words include susceptive, the adverb susceptibly, the noun susceptibility, as well as the words suspect, suspicious, insusceptible, intussusception, susceptibleness and susceptive.

How can the word susceptible be used in a sentence?

The word susceptible can be used in a plethora of different circumstances both literal and figurative to describe someone or something that is easily influenced or harmed by something else. In this first example, Nora comes into work sneezing and sniffling. HEr coworker Judy asks her what’s wrong. 

Judy: Whoa, you okay? If you’re sick you should go home.

Nora: I’m not sick, it’s just allergies. I’m super susceptible to them this kind of year. As soon as those trees with the purple flowers start blooming, I’m done for.

Judy: Do you want any allergy medicine?

Nora: No, it puts me right to sleep. Thanks, though. I’ll just suffer.

Here, Nora uses the word susceptible to describe the fact that she is prone to allergies. In this next example, the word susceptible will be used figuratively. Here, Nora is getting hit on in a bar. Judy steps in.

Man: You’ve got great eyes. How about you and I get outta here?

Nora: No, I really–

Man: What’s the matter? I say nice things to you and that makes me the bad guy?

Judy: She’s not susceptible to flattery. Especially to weirdos in a dark bar.

Man: Whatever.

Nora: Thanks Judy.

Here, Judy uses the word susceptible to describe Nora, saying that she is not prone to being swayed by flattery or compliments. The word susceptible can be used in either a literal or figurative way.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word susceptible?

There are numerous different words that someone can use in place of the word susceptible. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying not to repeat yourself, or if you are working on growing your vocabulary. This list of synonyms is provided by Thesaurus

  • roused
  • be taken in
  • vulnerable
  • responsive
  • sensible
  • fall for
  • susceptive
  • sitting duck
  • gullible
  • sensile
  • impressible
  • affected
  • sentient
  • disposed
  • aroused
  • persuadable
  • naive
  • exposed
  • liable
  • subject
  • suggestible
  • receptive
  • wide open
  • swallow
  • out on a limb
  • stirred
  • predisposed
  • easy
  • sucker
  • touched
  • prone
  • soft
  • obnoxious
  • mark
  • tumble for
  • tender
  • ready
  • inclined
  • movable
  • sensitive
  • impressed
  • swayed
  • nonresistant
  • influenced
  • easily moved
  • impressionable
  • given
  • open
  • pushover

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word susceptible. These are called antonyms, and are also useful to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary or knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms for the word susceptible is also provided by Thesaurus

  • absurd
  • not probable
  • senseless
  • insusceptible
  • resistive
  • untoward
  • inconceivable
  • unconvincing
  • improbable
  • remote
  • repellent
  • unimaginable
  • outside chance
  • slight
  • faint
  • dead
  • strange
  • incredible
  • unbelievable
  • resistant
  • insensible
  • insensitive
  • anesthetized
  • asleep
  • unlikely
  • immune to
  • unfeeling
  • unsusceptible
  • questionable
  • unimpressionable
  • impervious
  • nonreactive
  • rare
  • unheard-of
  • contrary
  • invulnerable
  • doubtful
  • implausible
  • impassible
  • protected
  • benumbed
  • deadened
  • impassive
  • out of the ordinary
  • impervious to
  • proof
  • immune
  • dubious
  • not likely

Overall, the word susceptible is an adjective that refers to someone or something that is prone to something else, or who is easily influenced or harmed by something. This word can be used in a variety of both literal and figurative contexts and is of Latin origin.