Definition of perceive in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəˈsiːv/


[with object]
1Become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand: his mouth fell open as he perceived the truth [with clause]: he was quick to perceive that there was little future in such arguments
More example sentences
  • Her ability to understand, to perceive the nature of the truth was what was being tested.
  • People admire that quiet charm, perceiving great depth and understanding behind that gentle manner.
  • A person who is conscious selectively perceives sensations, attending to some while filtering out others.
discern, recognize, become cognizant of, become aware of, become conscious of, get/come to know, tell, distinguish, grasp, understand, take in, make out, find, identify, hit on, comprehend, apprehend, figure out, deduce, conclude, see, discover, learn, appreciate, realize, ascertain, sense, divine, intuit
informal catch on to, have an aha moment
British informal twig
rare cognize
1.1Become aware of (something) by the use of one of the senses, especially that of sight: he perceived the faintest of flushes creeping up her neck
More example sentences
  • The robe that Euripides's Medea sends as a gift glues together the flesh and the bones of her rival; but the sense that perceives the progress of this deadly confusion is sight.
  • You're actually perceiving it through your senses and through an exploration of what the idea might be perceived through your senses.
  • The properties perceived by other senses are also conveyed by contact of some kind.
see, make out, pick out, discern, detect, catch sight of, spot, observe, glimpse, notice, recognize, identify;
hear, smell, sniff (out), scent, nose out, feel, taste, sense
2Interpret or regard (someone or something) in a particular way: if Guy does not perceive himself as disabled, nobody else should [with object and infinitive]: some geographers perceive hydrology to be a separate field of scientific enquiry
More example sentences
  • It would annoy me if that was what people perceived me to be here for.
  • To come out to boos is one of the most strident messages you can receive about the way you are perceived as a person.
  • However, for us our own branding has been an issue as people perceive us as a data company, so we have to work hard to get out the message about our voice and converged abilities.



Pronunciation: /pəˈsiːvəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • According to Descartes, the mind is one sort of substance, and body another, because it is possible to form a conception of the mind and a conception of body by way of totally separate sets of clearly and distinctly perceivable attributes.
  • Science is that branch of knowledge which deals with the material world, the world and natural phenomena that are observable, measurable and perceivable by the senses.
  • It translates these purported interactions into a mode perceivable and tangible to man.


Example sentences
  • Aesthetics and the theory of beauty are not the same, because the theory of beauty may be concentrated on objects and appearances but aesthetics is concerned with perceptions and perceivers.
  • I actually think in that moment we became, in some ways, different people, different journalists, different perceivers of the world.
  • In other words, knowledge is always of a reality that exists independently of knowers and perceivers.


Middle English: from a variant of Old French perçoivre, from Latin percipere 'seize, understand', from per- 'entirely' + capere 'take'.

  • capable from mid 16th century:

    The first recorded sense of this was ‘able to take in’, physically or mentally. It comes from Latin capere ‘take or hold’ which is found in many other English words including: accept (Late Middle English) from ad- ‘to’ and capere; anticipation (Late Middle English) ‘acting or taking in advance’; capacity (Late Middle English) ‘ability to hold’; caption (Late Middle English) originally an act of capture; captive (Late Middle English); catch (Middle English); chase (Middle English); conceive (Middle English) literally ‘take together’; except (Late Middle English) ‘take out of’; incapacity (early 17th century) inability to hold; intercept (Late Middle English) to take between; perceive (Middle English) to hold entirely; prince; receive (Middle English) ‘take back’; susceptible (early 17th century) literally ‘that can be taken from below’.

Words that rhyme with perceive

achieve, believe, breve, cleave, conceive, deceive, eve, greave, grieve, heave, interleave, interweave, khedive, leave, misconceive, naive, Neve, peeve, reave, receive, reive, relieve, reprieve, retrieve, sheave, sleeve, steeve, Steve, Tananarive, Tel Aviv, thieve, underachieve, upheave, weave, we've, Yves

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: per|ceive

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