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[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.
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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
  • I have used none with my sister, as you perceive; and I shall use none with you.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • I could not perceive the expression of the man's face, but he was a long while answering.

    My Lady of Doubt Randall Parrish
  • She has your names you perceive; her own, translated into English, is the Strawberry-plant.

    The Settlers in Canada Frederick Marryat
  • 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
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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
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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.
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