English Dictionary

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perceive (pəˈsiːv Pronunciation for perceive



  1. to become aware of (something) through the senses, esp the sight; recognize or observe
  2. (transitive; may take a clause as object) to come to comprehend; grasp

Derived Forms

perˈceivable adjective
perˌceivaˈbility noun
perˈceivably adverb
perˈceiver noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French perçoivre, from Latin percipere seize entirely, from per- (thoroughly) + capere to grasp


View thesaurus entry
= understand, sense, gather, get, know, see, feel, learn, realize, conclude, appreciate, grasp, comprehend, get the message about, deduce, apprehend, suss (out), get the picture about

Translations for 'perceive'

  • British English: perceive If you perceive something, you see, notice, or realize it, especially when it is not obvious. VERBStudents must perceive for themselves the relationship between success and effort.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: perceber
  • Chinese: 感知到
  • European Spanish: percibir
  • French: percevoir
  • German: wahrnehmen
  • Italian: percepire
  • Japanese: 知覚する
  • Korean: 지각하다
  • Portuguese: perceber
  • Spanish: percibir

Example Sentences Including 'perceive'

Griffiths was clearly a good man: he could perceive goodness in Griffiths.
Independent (1998)
He had very little in common with his sister and must have been very distracted not to perceive her unyielding hostility.
Adair, Tom (Intro) Three Kinds of Kissing - Scottish Short Stories
In most people the earliest memories are like pieces of ice floating in a twilight sea: fragmented, disconnected and hard to perceive.
Zindell, David The Broken God
In such things as the monuments, they began dimly to perceive the origins of Thea Sedgemore's sculpture.
Gaskin, Catherine The Ambassador's Women
Instead, patients are likely to feel anxious as they perceive disparities between NHS regions.
British Medical Journal (2002)
Just persist, and slowly you will perceive changes occurring, as improbable as it may seem at the moment.
Vera Peiffer POSITIVE THINKING: Everything you have always known about positive thinking but were afraid to put into practice (2001)
Many patients perceive a certain warmth under the healing hands.
Independent (1998)
The debate reflects a divide in the way people perceive games.
Globe and Mail (2004)
We assess our self-worth based on how successful we are at our jobs and how others perceive and acknowledge our performance.
Globe and Mail (2003)


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