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").