Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


[per-seev] /pərˈsiv/
verb (used with object), perceived, perceiving.
to become aware of, know, or identify by means of the senses:
I perceived an object looming through the mist.
to recognize, discern, envision, or understand:
I perceive a note of sarcasm in your voice. This is a nice idea but I perceive difficulties in putting it into practice.
Origin of perceive
1250-1300; Middle English perceiven < Anglo-French *perceivre, for perçoivre < Latin percipere to lay hold of, grasp, equivalent to per- per- + -cipere, combining form of capere to take
Related forms
[per-see-vid-lee, -seevd-] /pərˈsi vɪd li, -ˈsivd-/ (Show IPA),
perceivedness, noun
perceiver, noun
perceivingness, noun
nonperceiving, adjective
reperceive, verb (used with object), reperceived, reperceiving.
self-perceiving, adjective
unperceived, adjective
unperceiving, adjective
well-perceived, adjective
1. note, discover, observe, descry, distinguish. See notice. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for perceive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At least that is how I interpret the uneasiness, the hesitation, which I now seemed to perceive in him.

    The Dark Forest Hugh Walpole
  • And Buck was just sober enough to perceive that he was being held lightly.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • I could not perceive the expression of the man's face, but he was a long while answering.

    My Lady of Doubt Randall Parrish
  • I cannot perceive that our own comprehension of it is at all essential to the matter.

  • Only a short while; then the thought comes to them in the shape of a dilemma—Miss Lees being the first to perceive it.

    Gwen Wynn Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for perceive


to become aware of (something) through the senses, esp the sight; recognize or observe
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to come to comprehend; grasp
Derived Forms
perceivable, adjective
perceivability, noun
perceivably, adverb
perceiver, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French perçoivre, from Latin percipere seize entirely, from per- (thoroughly) + capere to grasp
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for perceive

c.1300, via Anglo-French parceif, Old North French *perceivre (Old French perçoivre) "perceive, notice, see; recognize, understand," from Latin percipere "obtain, gather, seize entirely, take possession of," also, figuratively, "to grasp with the mind, learn, comprehend," literally "to take entirely," from per "thoroughly" (see per) + capere "to grasp, take" (see capable).

Replaced Old English ongietan. Both the Latin senses were in Old French, though the primary sense of Modern French percevoir is literal, "to receive, collect" (rents, taxes, etc.), while English uses the word almost always in the metaphorical sense. Related: Perceived; perceiving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
perceive in Medicine

perceive per·ceive (pər-sēv')
v. per·ceived, per·ceiv·ing, per·ceives

  1. To become aware of directly through any of the senses, especially sight or hearing.

  2. To achieve understanding of; apprehend.

per·ceiv'a·ble adj.
per·ceiv'a·bly adv.
per·ceiv'er n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for perceive

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for perceive

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for perceive