per·​cep·​tu·​al (ˌ)pər-ˈsep-chə-wəl How to pronounce perceptual (audio)
: of, relating to, or involving perception especially in relation to immediate sensory experience
perceptually adverb

Examples of perceptual in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sensory sciences have come a long way in explaining how some physical phenomena—a particular wavelength of light, for example, or a column of air vibrating at a set frequency—correspond to a typical perceptual experience. IEEE Spectrum, 4 Sep. 2023 But there is intuitive appeal, even among some scientists in the field, to the idea that humans have a perceptual limit. Nora Bradford, Scientific American, 28 June 2023 The risk, of course, is that this treatment turns everyone other than Ruth into a reflection of her perceptual world. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 26 June 2023 This can lead to perceptual illusions such as a single beep appearing to be longer than two separate ones. Shayla Love, Scientific American, 10 July 2023 People who experience this often describe having a distorted sense of time, perceptual alterations, an absent or unreal sense of self, and emotional or physical numbing, if not both, according to the DSM-5. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 3 July 2023 However, in recent years, there has been an increasing focus on perceptual quality metrics that consider how the compressed video is perceived by human viewers. IEEE Spectrum, 10 Apr. 2023 There are many answers to this question, but one of the most helpful appeals to what is called perceptual adaptation. Jacob Beck, Scientific American, 14 Feb. 2023 Choose effective actions to close the perceptual gaps. Jay Steven Levin, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 See More

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

Word History


percept + -ual (as in conceptual)

First Known Use

1878, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of perceptual was in 1878

Dictionary Entries Near perceptual

Cite this Entry

“Perceptual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


: of, relating to, or involving perception especially in relation to immediate sensory experience
auditory perceptual deficits
perceptually adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on perceptual

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