Sentience is the ability to think intelligently.
A sentient was an organic or mechanical being with the ability to think intelligently, commonly determined by the being's ability to speak, manipulate tools, and reason. Species that lacked this ability were classified as non-sentient, or sometimes as sub-sentient. It should be noted that nonsentience does not imply the lack of any form of intelligence. Species that appeared to have emerging sentience were classified as semi-sentient. These included species that had very primitive capabilities to manipulate tools, use language, and/or solve problems. Examples included the Arkanian dragon, the Zillo Beast, the Bafforr tree, the Wampa, and the Darkstaff.
An Annual Mid-Rim Domesticated Sub-Sentient Show was held for non-sentient creatures. The Galactic Empire would often recategorize sentient species such as the Wookiees as non-sentient, allowing it to enslave them without formally violating the laws protecting sentient beings from such abuse.
Behind the scenesEdit
In real-world usage, sentience refers to the capacity to feel sensations, such as pain; thus, most animals are sentient. In English, a more correct term for a being with the capacity for intelligent thought would be sapient or sophont. Star Wars usage follows the science-fiction convention of including intelligence as a defining characteristic of sentience.
Sentient comes from the Latin word sentire, meaning "to feel, to realize."
Sentience is not restricted to animals, despite the common belief; an example of this is Yuuzhan'tar, a sentient planet.
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