Coined based on Ancient Greek κινέω (kinéō, “I put in motion”) + αἴσθησις (-αισθησία) (aísthēsis (-aisthēsía), “sensation”) (after anesthesia, etc). Compare kinesthesis and Greek κιναισθησία (kinaisthisía).
If this word were borrowed on fully traditional principles it would be cinesthesia (or cinaesthesia); compare cinema from the same root. But more often this Greek root is spelled and pronounced with a k, and in the case of kinesthesia this avoids inconvenient homophony with synaesthesia, the sensation of one type of perception as another (e.g. the perception of smells as colors). Nevertheless the words are still occasionally confused; e.g. .
- Sensation or perception of motion.
- For quotations of use of this term, see Citations:kinesthesia.
- Proprioception or static position sense; the perception of the position and posture of the body; also, more broadly, including the motion of the body as well. See usage notes below.
- The traditional rules of pronunciation of Greco-Latin vocabulary prefer the I in the first syllable to be long. The more common pronunciation with short I is by analogy with other words from this root such as kinetic and kinesiology where short I is expected.
- The etymological meaning of the word as used in physiology refers specifically to the motion of the body, and a distinction between kinesthesia and the sense of the position of the body is sometimes made in technical texts. In popular use the distinction is made less often.