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[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 sapient
Historical Examples
  • Miss Martineau also made up her mind to forgive these naughty girls, and to give them the benefit of her most sapient counsel.

    The Palace Beautiful L. T. Meade
  • Then the group of women at the gate separated with many a sapient comment.

    A Son of Hagar Sir Hall Caine
  • Dreams are, as a general thing, save in rare instances, sneered at by the wise ones of this sapient age.

    Tom Clark and His Wife Paschal Beverly Randolph
  • And the skipper gave his head a sapient nod, while the doctor shook his.

    The Ocean Cat's Paw George Manville Fenn
  • But a sapient reader made all the people swim across without using the boat at all!

    The Canterbury Puzzles Henry Ernest Dudeney
  • “No doubt,” said Fritz, laughing at this sapient declaration.

    Fritz and Eric John Conroy Hutcheson
  • Many of the sapient censors of my work objected most strenuously to the disguising of my known methods and a loss of personality.

    Nat Goodwin's Book Nat C. Goodwin
  • I think I see them at their work—these sapient trouble-tombs.

  • This has an impartial air and a sapient sound, but it is gross folly and injustice.

    Shadows of the Stage William Winter
  • And what new instance of his immaculateness has induced this sapient belief?

    Alone Marion Harland
British Dictionary definitions for sapient


(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 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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