per·​cep·​tive | \pər-ˈsep-tiv \

Definition of perceptive 

1 : responsive to sensory stimuli : discerning a perceptive eye

2a : capable of or exhibiting keen perception : observant a perceptive scholar

b : characterized by sympathetic understanding or insight

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Other Words from perceptive

perceptively adverb
perceptiveness noun
perceptivity \ (ˌ)pər-​ˌsep-​ˈti-​və-​tē \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for perceptive


discerning, insightful, prudent, sagacious, sage, sapient, wise


unperceptive, unwise

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Examples of perceptive in a Sentence

He is a very perceptive young man. due to their ability to rotate their ears, cats are very perceptive when it comes to pinpointing the source of a sound

Recent Examples on the Web

Not unlike Jane Austen, to whom her last novel paid homage, Sittenfeld offers a perceptive, light and tasty depiction of human scandal and embarrassment. Kathleen Rooney,, "'You Think It,' We'll Say It: Curtis Sittenfeld knows how to write a juicy tale," 7 May 2018 And unlike many writers of maddeningly intimate description (from Marcel Proust to Doris Lessing to Edward St. Aubyn), Knausgaard circles around a mind and a life that, while intelligent, impassioned and perceptive, are ordinary. New York Times, "In Knausgaard’s ‘Spring,’ a Man Considers How Best to Help His Sick Wife," 6 July 2018 The family drama unfolds quietly in front of Sunny, their ever-perceptive housekeeper in China. Grace Z. Li, USA TODAY, "Chinese-American expat family drama sparks Lucy Tan's promising debut novel," 10 July 2018 An engaging, personal take, with lots of perceptive insights. Dan Deluca,, "Dan DeLuca's Mix Picks: Nuevofest in West Philly, Queen Of Jeans' video homage and Britney Spears in Atlantic City," 12 July 2018 Some humans are clearly more tuned in to the spiritual, mystical and unseen, while others simply lack the necessary perceptive antenna. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A cardinal's song, or a spiritual experience?," 5 July 2018 The family plot is an opportunity for Maron to play Sam as an abrasive, gruff, good-hearted dad with an unconventional but perceptive parenting style. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "Marc Maron Is Great in GLOW, and Maybe That’s a Problem," 29 June 2018 That is an interesting and very perceptive thought. Fox News, "Gutfeld: Trump is succeeding and it's the media's nightmare," 24 June 2018 Jurassic World and its sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (in theaters June 22), which promotes incredibly perceptive and intelligent raptor Blue to the level of leading lady, continue this theme., "The Most Interesting Woman In Fallen Kingdom Is A Raptor: How The Jurassic Park Franchise Regressed," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perceptive.' 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 perceptive

1652, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of perceptive was in 1652

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English Language Learners Definition of perceptive

: having or showing an ability to understand or notice something easily or quickly


per·​cep·​tive | \pər-ˈsep-tiv \

Medical Definition of perceptive 

: responsive to sensory stimulus a perceptive eye

Other Words from perceptive

perceptively adverb
perceptiveness noun
perceptivity \ (ˌ)pər-​ˌsep-​ˈtiv-​ət-​ē \ noun plural perceptivities

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