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noun per·cep·tion \pər-ˈsep-shən\

: the way you think about or understand someone or something

: the ability to understand or notice something easily

: the way that you notice or understand something using one of your senses

Full Definition of PERCEPTION

a :  a result of perceiving :  observation (see perceive)
b :  a mental image :  concept
obsolete :  consciousness
a :  awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation <color perception>
b :  physical sensation interpreted in the light of experience
a :  quick, acute, and intuitive cognition :  appreciation
b :  a capacity for comprehension
per·cep·tion·al \-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective

Examples of PERCEPTION

  1. <a writer of considerable perception, she remembers how it feels to be confused and insecure>
  2. <a growing perception of the enormity of the problem>
  3. It is ironic that the impact of smoking on nonsmokers, rather than on smokers themselves, is what finally transformed the regulation and cultural perception of the cigarette. —Allan M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century, 2007


Latin perception-, perceptio act of perceiving, from percipere (see perceive)
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of PERCEPTION

discernment, discrimination, perception, penetration, insight, acumen mean a power to see what is not evident to the average mind. discernment stresses accuracy (as in reading character or motives or appreciating art) <the discernment to know true friends>. discrimination stresses the power to distinguish and select what is true or appropriate or excellent <the discrimination that develops through listening to a lot of great music>. perception implies quick and often sympathetic discernment (as of shades of feeling) <a novelist of keen perception into human motives>. penetration implies a searching mind that goes beyond what is obvious or superficial <lacks the penetration to see the scorn beneath their friendly smiles>. insight suggests depth of discernment coupled with understanding sympathy <a documentary providing insight into the plight of the homeless>. acumen implies characteristic penetration combined with keen practical judgment <a director of reliable box-office acumen>.

Other Psychology Terms

fetish, hypochondria, intelligence, mania, narcissism, neurosis, pathological, psychosis, schadenfreude, subliminal
PERCEPTION Defined for Kids


noun per·cep·tion \pər-ˈsep-shən\

Definition of PERCEPTION for Kids

:  a judgment resulting from awareness or understanding <Visiting the beautiful park changed her perception of the city.>
:  the ability to understand (as meanings and ideas) <He's a child of remarkable perception.>
:  understanding or awareness gained through the use of the senses <depth perception>
Medical Dictionary


noun per·cep·tion \pər-ˈsep-shən\

Medical Definition of PERCEPTION

:  awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation <color perception> <some sensation of perception of the extremity after amputation is felt by 98% of patients—Orthopedics & Traumatic Surgery>—compare sensation 1a


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