Definition--Sensational- adj. 1. of or relating to the senses. 2. exceedingly great, outstanding. 3. arousing strong feelings, intense interest, often in an exaggerated way.
Discussion--This is one of the catch phrases for sports announcers everywhere. I don't know how many times I have heard an announcer shout something like, "What a sensational play!" In this context, sensational is used to describe excellence.
Sensational has always seemed to me to be a somewhat cheesy word. I picture a game show host saying something like, "We have a wide array of sensational prizes to give away today, " or something like that. I can also see this being a favorite word of the car salesman, "Come on over here, I want to show you some sensational deals that we have!" I mean, who really says sensational in everyday conversation?
Sensational can also be used to mean relating to the senses. For example, someone who jumps into a pool of extremely cold water is bound to have a sensational experience!
Sensational is also used to refer to something that is attempting to arouse someones interest and emotion, such as a news story. Reporters often sensationalize a story to pique the audience's interest, exaggerating certain points and minimizing others. We have grown accostomed to this sensationalized form of reporting on shows such as Inside Edition or Current Affair, but even the bigger news shows are guilty of these practices. It's all about ratings, after all.
Etymology--Sensational- formed from English sensation, borrowed from French sensation, from Medieval Latin sensationem, from Late Latin sensatus, from Latin sensus, feeling.