Stoner post but bear with me.
My German friend was briefly puzzled earlier when i replied ‘sensible!’ to his comment that he had his beers for the night ready next to him. He told me that ‘senisbel’ means sensitive where he’s from. So i described how ‘sense’ can be used for ‘sense of touch’, ‘sense of smell’ and also for ‘common sense’ and ‘sense you were born with (haven’t got)’.
At this stage i guess i could rationalise the spectrum of meaning: after all, the brain is just a big bundle of nerves isn’t it? I couldn’t help but feel this rationalisation would work better if the word had been around several hundred million years.
We then got on to ‘sensible shoes’ (as opposed to ‘silly shoes’?) and i mentioned the idea of ‘smart shoes’. Now, i’ve always thought that the evolution of ‘smart’ went something like this:
cutting / sharp pain (like being cut) -> cutting wit, cutting jokes -> misinterpreted to mean ‘clever’ (in the modern sense of ‘clever)’. With some tailoring technique thrown in - the cut of a suit = a measure of how smart it is.
So you can see i’m already confused, but when i start to look into ‘clever’ i find i’m sensing an evolutionary web instead of the neat branching tree that i hoped for.