perceive

verb
per·​ceive | \ pər-ˈsēv \
perceived; perceiving; perceives

Definition of perceive

transitive verb

1a : to attain awareness or understanding of
b : to regard as being such was perceived as a loser
2 : to become aware of through the senses especially : see, observe

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Other Words from perceive

perceivable \ pər-​ˈsē-​və-​bəl \ adjective
perceivably \ pər-​ˈsē-​və-​blē \ adverb
perceiver noun

Synonyms for perceive

Synonyms

feel, scent, see, sense, smell, taste

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Examples of perceive in a Sentence

We perceive by means of the kaleidoscopic mirror of this life. This means that our ability to perceive is at once tyrannized by our expectations, and at war with them. — James Baldwin, The Evidence of Things Not Seen, 1985 Standing in the hallway just out of sight during this interview was Sarah. She held her baby on her hip and she listened. She perceived as no one in the family could the enormity of the misfortune. — E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime, 1974 … and when they perceived her to be little struck with the duet they were so good as to play, they could do no more than make her a generous present of some of their least valued toys, and leave her to herself, while they adjourned to whatever might be the favourite holiday sport of the moment, making artificial flowers or wasting gold paper. — Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814 I thought I perceived a problem, but I wasn't sure. perceived that it was going to be a nice day
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Recent Examples on the Web

Much of Greek society is still reeling from the country’s perceived humiliations at the hands of international creditors during its long debt crisis. Nektaria Stamouli, WSJ, "Greece Ratifies Historic Accord With Macedonia Amid Protests," 25 Jan. 2019 Watching this moment in history inspires me and so many of my peers to push past perceived boundaries and create new possibilities. Yara Shahidi, Teen Vogue, ""Yes She Can" Is the Yara Shahidi-Approved Collection of Stories From Young Women Staffers of the Obama White House," 14 Jan. 2019 Flexibility for one layer, but immobility for every other, is still mistakenly perceived and marketed as flexibility for all. Kate Wagner, Curbed, "Building houses that grow with us," 14 Nov. 2018 Kaling told a self-deprecating anecdote about how never being perceived as conventionally attractive by men actually made asking for things easier. Glamour, "Mindy Kaling: A Lot of People Have a Problem Being Around Women Who Don't Hate Themselves," 11 Nov. 2018 In the near future, Holmes and Vaziri expect experiments that will test what people perceive when photons are put into strange quantum states. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018 Through The Signs Venus's mission is to give and get pleasure, or what the planet perceives as pleasure is dictated by its zodiac sign. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What the Position of Venus in Your Birth Chart Means for You," 31 July 2018 In fact, on the Today show this morning, Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager discussed the trend, focusing on jwhat many of us have perceived as its charitable, altruistic results. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Did Marie Kondo Inspire You to Clean Out Your Closet This Weekend? Here Are the 5 Best Ways to Do It," 18 Jan. 2019 The Chicago Chapter of the Women’s March cancelled the rally amid the controversy regarding the leaders’ perceived anti-semitism. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Should You Attend the Women's March?," 16 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perceive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of perceive

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for perceive

Middle English, from Anglo-French perceivre, from Latin percipere, from per- thoroughly + capere to take — more at heave

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Statistics for perceive

Last Updated

7 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for perceive

The first known use of perceive was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for perceive

perceive

verb

English Language Learners Definition of perceive

formal : to notice or become aware of (something)
: to think of (someone or something) as being something stated

perceive

verb
per·​ceive | \ pər-ˈsēv \
perceived; perceiving

Kids Definition of perceive

1 : to become aware of through the senses and especially through sight Perceiving the intruders in their nest the birds flew down upon them …— L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz
2 : to recognize or realize I perceived a change in her attitude.
3 : to think of as The message was perceived as a threat.

perceive

transitive verb
per·​ceive | \ pər-ˈsēv \
perceived; perceiving

Medical Definition of perceive

: to become aware of through the senses

Other Words from perceive

perceivable \ -​ˈsē-​və-​bəl \ adjective
perceivably \ -​blē \ adverb
perceiver noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on perceive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with perceive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for perceive

Spanish Central: Translation of perceive

Nglish: Translation of perceive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perceive for Arabic Speakers

Comments on perceive

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