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Supposedly vs. Supposably


[sey-pee-uh nt] /ˈseɪ pi ənt/
having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment.
Origin of sapient
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English sapyent < Latin sapient- (stem of sapiēns, present participle of sapere to be wise, literally, to taste, have taste), equivalent to sapi- verb stem + -ent- -ent
Related forms
sapience, sapiency, noun
sapiently, adverb
unsapient, adjective
unsapiently, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sapience
Historical Examples
  • The fact that the sapience of these Fuzzies is still sub judice includes the presumption of its possibility.

    Little Fuzzy Henry Beam Piper
  • But her "sapience," as you excellently call it, passes all decent bounds.

  • Suppose we go back to specific instances of Fuzzy behavior, and present them as evidence of sapience?

    Little Fuzzy Henry Beam Piper
  • Apparently they were impressed with the sapience of his remark.

    Angel Island Inez Haynes Gillmore
  • Everybody, from Ernst Mallin down, who had anything to do with them was convinced of their sapience.

    Little Fuzzy Henry Beam Piper
  • sapience: the Book of Wisdom, but the quotation is actually from Proverbs xx.

  • Vaniman refrained from making a reply; the Prophet was displaying an embarrassing amount of sapience as to conditions.

  • In its archetype it is the Divine wisdom, or sapience, manifested in the creation.

  • Yet sapience is founde in fewe persones: and they be lyghtly olde sobre men.

  • Another is an emblematic representation of the Tower of sapience, each stone formed of some mental qualification.

British Dictionary definitions for sapience


(often ironic) wise or sagacious
Derived Forms
sapience, noun
sapiently, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin sapere to taste
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 sapience

late 14c., "wisdom, understanding," from Old French sapience, from Latin sapientia "good taste, good sense, discernment; intelligence, wisdom," from sapiens (see sapient).



"wise," late 15c. (early 15c. as a surname), from Old French sapient, from Latin sapientem (nominative sapiens), present participle of sapere "to taste, have taste, be wise," from PIE root *sep- "to taste, perceive" (cf. Old Saxon an-sebban "to perceive, remark," Old High German antseffen, Old English sefa "mind, understanding, insight").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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