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From Middle English perceiven, borrowed from Old French percevoir, perceveir, from Latin percipiō, past participle perceptus (take hold of, obtain, receive, observe), from per (by, through) + capiō (to take); see capable. Compare conceive, deceive, receive.



perceive (third-person singular simple present perceives, present participle perceiving, simple past and past participle perceived)

  1. (transitive) To become aware of, through the physical senses, to see; to understand.
    • 2012 March-April, Colin Allen, “Do I See What You See?”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 2, archived from the original on 26 April 2012, page 168:
      Numerous experimental tests and other observations have been offered in favor of animal mind reading, and although many scientists are skeptical, others assert that humans are not the only species capable of representing what others do and don’t perceive and know.
  2. To interpret something in a particular way
    John was perceived to be a coward by his comrades


Related terms[edit]