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pen·sive  audio  (pnsv) KEY 

  1. Deeply, often wistfully or dreamily thoughtful.
  2. Suggestive or expressive of melancholy thoughtfulness.

Middle English pensif, from Old French, from penser, to think, from Latin pnsre, frequentative of pendere, to weigh; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots

pensive·ly(Adverb), pensive·ness(Noun)

pensive, contemplative, reflective, meditative, thoughtful

These adjectives mean characterized by or disposed to thought, especially serious or deep thought. Pensive often connotes a wistful, dreamy, or sad quality: "while pensive poets painful vigils keep" (Alexander Pope). Contemplative implies slow directed consideration, often with conscious intent of achieving better understanding or spiritual or aesthetic enrichment: "The Contemplative Atheist is rare ... And yet they seem to be more than they are" (Francis Bacon). Reflective suggests careful analytical deliberation, as in reappraising past experience: "Cromwell was of the active, not the reflective temper" (John Morley). Meditative implies earnest sustained thought: The scholar was reticent, aloof, and meditative. Thoughtful can refer to absorption in thought or to the habit of reflection and circumspection: Thoughtful voters carefully considered the candidates.

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