per·​cep·​ti·​ble pər-ˈsep-tə-bəl How to pronounce perceptible (audio)
: capable of being perceived especially by the senses
a perceptible change in her tone
a barely perceptible light
perceptibility noun
perceptibly adverb

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See here: if something is perceptible, you can perceive it (“to notice or become aware of”) or capture it with your senses. Those who are linguistically perceptive may wonder if perceptible comes to us from Latin. It does indeed. Arriving in English by way of Late Latin perceptibilis, perceptible comes from a form of percipere (“to perceive”), which comes from Latin capere (“to take”) and the prefix per- (“thoroughly”). Perceptible shares the capere part of its ancestry with a number of other English words related to seizing or being seized, including capture, captor, captivate, and even catch. An even closer relation of perceptible is perceptive: while perceptible describes what can be perceived, perceptive describes the one who does the perceiving. Perceptive was formed in English from perception, which is also from percipere.

Choose the Right Synonym for perceptible

perceptible, sensible, palpable, tangible, appreciable, ponderable mean apprehensible as real or existent.

perceptible applies to what can be discerned by the senses often to a minimal extent.

a perceptible difference in sound to a careful listener

sensible applies to whatever is clearly apprehended through the senses or impresses itself strongly on the mind.

an abrupt, sensible drop in temperature

palpable applies either to what has physical substance or to what is obvious and unmistakable.

the tension in the air was almost palpable

tangible suggests what is capable of being handled or grasped both physically and mentally.

no tangible evidence of UFOs

appreciable applies to what is distinctly discernible by the senses or definitely measurable.

an appreciable increase in income

ponderable suggests having definitely measurable weight or importance.

exerted a ponderable influence on world events

Examples of perceptible in a Sentence

The sound was barely perceptible. There was a perceptible change in the audience's mood.
Recent Examples on the Web While animosity has been more perceptible among conservatives in the House, some Senate Republicans are now accusing the administration of holding back assistance for Americans by tying its request for billions in disaster relief money to its petition for Ukraine. Shannon K. Crawford, ABC News, 8 Sep. 2023 The corridor of the darkness spun, pressing him, but also expanded slightly, as if becoming larger, and his movement toward the bright dot was becoming ever more perceptible. Lyudmila Ulitskaya, The New Yorker, 21 Aug. 2023 The deep listener in me is unsettled by the growing chorus of ad bugs, those barely perceptible bits of consumer culture, absorbed through our ears like the audio equivalent of microplastics. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 28 July 2023 Rebrandings, therefore, are an extremely delicate issue that usually lead to only evolutionary, and sometimes even barely perceptible, changes to corporate identity (CI). Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 25 July 2023 Each vegan-friendly item contains 25mg of Delta 8 THC, which offers a subtly perceptible high. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 6 July 2023 The impact of deforestation ranges from the immediate and most tangible, such as the loss of habitat, to the distant and least perceptible, such as threatening climate regulation. Katherine Ott, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 June 2023 With no artist, no context, no perceptible exchange, maybe the work remains just an idea. Vulture, 26 Jan. 2023 Any sweetness is barely perceptible against the racy acidity and flavors and peaches, nectarines and limes. Dave McIntyre, Washington Post, 22 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'perceptible.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1567, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of perceptible was in 1567


Dictionary Entries Near perceptible

Cite this Entry

“Perceptible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


per·​cep·​ti·​ble pər-ˈsep-tə-bəl How to pronounce perceptible (audio)
: capable of being noticed or observed
a perceptible change
perceptibly adverb

Medical Definition


per·​cep·​ti·​ble pər-ˈsep-tə-bəl How to pronounce perceptible (audio)
: capable of being perceived especially by the senses
barely perceptible motion
sound perceptible by the human ear
perceptibility noun
plural perceptibilities
perceptibly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on perceptible

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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