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[per-sep-tiv] /pərˈsɛp tɪv/
having or showing keenness of insight, understanding, or intuition:
a perceptive analysis of the problems involved.
having the power or faculty of perceiving.
of, relating to, or showing perception.
Origin of perceptive
1650-60; < Latin percept(us) (see percept) + -ive
Related forms
perceptively, adverb
perceptivity, perceptiveness, noun
nonperceptive, adjective
nonperceptively, adverb
nonperceptiveness, noun
nonperceptivity, noun
self-perceptive, adjective
semiperceptive, adjective
unperceptive, adjective
unperceptively, adverb
Can be confused
perceptible, perceptive.
1. discerning, sensitive, keen, astute. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for perceptive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To the notion that tact requires both a perceptive and an active part, I must for a moment return.

  • But Joshua hoped the rest of the personnel were not so perceptive.

    The Big Tomorrow Paul Lohrman
  • For our education depends very materially upon our perceptive power.

    Your Mind and How to Use It William Walker Atkinson
  • They educate, they exalt, they preserve; so that to profit by them we must be as perceptive as we can.

    The Tragic Muse Henry James
  • I was there with you as presently as now—as sentient, as perceptive.

    I, Mary MacLane Mary MacLane
British Dictionary definitions for perceptive


quick at perceiving; observant
able to perceive
Derived Forms
perceptively, adverb
perceptiveness, perceptivity, noun
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 perceptive

1650s, from Latin percept-, past participle stem of percipere (see perceive) + -ive. In reference to intelligence from 1860. From mid-15c. as the name of a type of optical instrument. Related: Perceptively; perceptiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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perceptive in Medicine

perceptive per·cep·tive (pər-sěp'tĭv)

  1. Of or relating to perception.

  2. Having the ability to perceive.

  3. Keenly discerning.

per'cep·tiv'i·ty (pûr'sěp-tĭv'ĭ-tē) or per·cep'tive·ness 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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