Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

perception

play
noun per·cep·tion \pər-ˈsep-shən\

Simple Definition of perception

  • : 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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of perception

  1. 1 a :  a result of perceiving :  observation (see perceive) b :  a mental image :  concept

  2. 2 obsolete :  consciousness

  3. 3 a :  awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation <color perception> b :  physical sensation interpreted in the light of experience

  4. 4 a :  quick, acute, and intuitive cognition :  appreciation b :  a capacity for comprehension

perceptional

play \-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective

Examples of perception in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. Some drugs cause blurred vision and changes in color perception, or increased tears. —Sallie Tisdale, Harper's, June 2007

  3. The urge of these acolytes is not dramatic but mercantile—to traduce all personal history, to subvert all perception or insight, into gain, or the hope of gain. —David Mamet, Jafsie and John Henry Essays, 1999

  4. Everything is research for the sake of erudition. No one is taught to value himself for nice perception and cultivated taste. —Robert Frost, letter, 2 Jan. 1915

  5. <a writer of considerable perception, she remembers how it feels to be confused and insecure>

  6. <a growing perception of the enormity of the problem>



Origin and Etymology of perception

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>.

PERCEPTION Defined for Kids

perception

play
noun per·cep·tion \pər-ˈsep-shən\

Definition of perception for Students

  1. 1 :  a judgment resulting from awareness or understanding <Visiting the beautiful park changed her perception of the city.>

  2. 2 :  the ability to understand (as meanings and ideas) <He's a child of remarkable perception.>

  3. 3 :  understanding or awareness gained through the use of the senses <depth perception>




Medical Dictionary

perception

play
noun per·cep·tion \pər-ˈsep-shən\

Medical Definition of perception

  1. :  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





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up perception? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the lowest point

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

fox-in-summer-forest

Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

massive experimental frightening formless
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ