8. a. A thought or reflection coloured by or proceeding from emotion.
1762 LD. KAMES Elem. Crit. xvi. (1774) I. 451 Every thought prompted by passion is termed a sentiment. 1848 THACKERAY Van. Fair lviii, This sentiment passed rapidly through William's mind, as he was holding Amelia's hand.
b. esp. An emotional thought expressed in literature or art; the feeling or meaning intended to be conveyed by a passage, as distinguished from the mode of expression.-- Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. (1989): "sentiment."
1709 FELTON Diss. Classics (1718) 32 Their finest Expressions, and noblest Sentiments, are to be met with in these Transcribers. 1750 JOHNSON Rambler No. 37 5 Either the sentiments must sink to the level of the speakers, or the speakers must be raised to the height of the sentiments. 1817 COLERIDGE Biog. Lit. (1907) II. 107 The sentiments and language are the poet's own. 1861 PALEY Æschylus (ed. 2) Supplices 970 note, In the next verse the connects the sentiment thus [etc.].