What is the opposite of nonsensical?

I don’t think it’s ‘sensible.’ But apparently ‘sensical’ is not a word.

Sensible. Why don’t you think it isn’t?

I second that in this context sensible is appropriate. Just as something being nonsense is the opposite of something making sense.

I disagree. You can have “sensical” actions that are not sensible.

For example “lifting down” is nonsensical. Shorting a battery is “sensical” but not sensible.

He doesn’t think it isn’t - he doesn’t think it is.

“Sensible” is an attribute of a person who has (good) sense, or an action performed by such a person (The boy was sensible enough to take off his muddy shoes before walking into the house.)

“Nonsensical” means that something said or written doesn’t make sense, either such that it can’t be determined to mean anything at all (“Twas brillig and the slithy toves…”), or what it means is patently ridiculous (“The moon is made of green cheese.”).

So the two are not antonyms.

IMHO possible antonyms of “nonsensical” are “meaningful” and “reasonable,” or the similar “well-reasoned.”

Why is there an assumption that there should be a direct opposite? The word is an abstraction, not a mathematical absolute. We can make a list of contradictory abstractions for any concept, but there’s no reason to think that one of them will be the “best” or even that some will be “better” than others.

Take “sweet” — is the opposite “sour” or “bitter”?

It should be remembered that the meaning of “sensible” has changed over the centuries - it used to be used in contexts where we would now use “sensitive” or “sensual”, as in the title of the novel “Sense and Sensibility” (where ‘sensibility’ is being contrasted with ‘sense’). I wonder if “sensible” altered its meaning because people felt that the language lacked the type of adjective that the OP is looking for.

The word sensical was current a couple of hundred years ago, albeit rare. Obsolete now, says OED.

Common-sensical still thrives however, although it’s not really the exact opposite of nonsenical.

The problem with using “sensible” as opposite of “nonsensical” is that “sensible” has taken a connotation that makes it more synonymous with, say, “advisable”. Nonsensical generally is something like “without logical meaning”, whereas sensible seems to be used like “a good idea”.

I’d suggest that in current, practical use, things could be divided into “nonsensical” or “logical”.

It’s not an assumption, it’s a question. A thesaurus is chock full of antonyms, so maybe’s there’s one for “nonsensical.” After all, there is a direct opposite for most words that start with “non.”

Surely this is just the gap that “cromulent” was created to fill?

The word starts with “non” (meaning “not”); isn’t that good enough reason to assume there is an opposite?

Regardless, the word ‘logical’ doesn’t really seem to fit all uses. If something is nonsense, it seems it either means 1) with no internal logic, or 2) unable to be comprehended. The first definition would be addressed by ‘logical’, but not the second. ‘Comprehensible’, perhaps?


One of my aunts was watching me ride a bike as a kid. She called me reckless. I thanked her because I thought she meant “free from wrecks” … as in a good bike rider.

Carry on.