sa·​pi·​ens ˈsa-pē-ənz How to pronounce sapiens (audio)
: of, relating to, or being recent humans (Homo sapiens) as distinguished from various fossil hominids

Examples of sapiens in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Additionally, there’s evidence, especially in North America and Siberia, of H. sapiens hunting megafauna. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 10 Jan. 2023 The authors suggest fossils found at other Israeli sites, including the famous Lady of Tabun, might also be part of this new human population, in contrast to their previous Neanderthal or H. sapiens identification. Michelle Langley, Discover Magazine, 10 July 2021 Research published online today in Science has identified these sapiens-specific variants and homed in on one in particular that may have brought about a pivotal change in the way our brain develops. Kate Wong, Scientific American, 11 Feb. 2021 In that case, an early H. sapiens woman likely interbred with a Neanderthal man more than 220,000 years ago and their descendants carried the modern mtDNA. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, 24 Sep. 2020 Researchers say that in comparisons with Neanderthal and H. sapiens species, the dimensions of the fossil finger fell within the range of measures for ancient and modern humans -- not Neanderthals. Fox News, 5 Sep. 2019 However, other high-altitude groups show different, uniquely H. sapiens adaptations. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, 3 June 2019 Until this week, the earliest known fossils of Homo sapiens were about 200,000 years old. Annalee Newitz, Ars Technica, 11 June 2017 The remaining challenge, however, was to identify these fossils as clearly being Homo sapiens. Ben Panko, Smithsonian, 8 June 2017

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

Word History


New Latin (specific epithet of Homo sapiens), from Latin, present participle of sapere

First Known Use

1939, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sapiens was in 1939

Dictionary Entries Near sapiens

Cite this Entry

“Sapiens.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


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