From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


From the Classical Latin perspicuitās (transparency”, “lucidity”, “self-evidency”, (in post-Classical Latin): “penetration”, “insight), from perspicuus (clear”, “evident); compare perspicacity and the French perspicuité. By surface analysis, perspicuous +‎ -ity.


  • (Received Pronunciation) enPR: pər'spĭkyo͞oʹĭti, IPA(key): /ˌpəːspɪˈkjuːɪti/
    • (file)
  • (US) enPR: pər'spəkyo͞oʹədi, IPA(key): /ˌpɚspəˈkjuəti/


perspicuity (countable and uncountable, plural perspicuities)

  1. Clarity, lucidity, especially in expression; the state or characteristic of being perspicuous.
    • 1880, [George] Bernard Shaw, chapter XVIII, in The Irrational Knot [...] Being the Second Novel of His Nonage, London: Archibald Constable & Co., published 1905, →OCLC, page 354:
      [] whether through the first officer's want of perspicuity or my own stupidity, I was not a bit the wiser for the explanation.
  2. Perspicacity; insight.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter IV, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC, page 51:
      “Well,” I answered, at first with uncertainty, then with inspiration, “he would do splendidly to lead your cotillon, if you think of having one.” ¶ “So you do not dance, Mr. Crocker?” ¶ I was somewhat set back by her perspicuity.
    • 1965 March 19, “The Stupid Spy”, in Time:
      Thompson, a high school dropout, said with rare perspicuity that he doubted the FBI would hire him.
  3. (rare) Transparency; translucence.
    • 1900, Edith Wharton, chapter 11, in The Touchstone:
      It must have been on some such day of harsh sunlight, the incisive February brightness that gives perspicuity without warmth.


Related terms[edit]