sa·​pi·​ent | \ ˈsā-pē-ənt How to pronounce sapient (audio) , ˈsa- \

Definition of sapient

: possessing or expressing great sagacity

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Other Words from sapient

sapiently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for sapient



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Choose the Right Synonym for sapient

wise, sage, sapient, judicious, prudent, sensible, sane mean having or showing sound judgment. wise suggests great understanding of people and of situations and unusual discernment and judgment in dealing with them. wise beyond his tender years sage suggests wide experience, great learning, and wisdom. the sage advice of my father sapient suggests great sagacity and discernment. the sapient musings of an old philosopher judicious stresses a capacity for reaching wise decisions or just conclusions. judicious parents using kindness and discipline in equal measure prudent suggests the exercise of restraint guided by sound practical wisdom and discretion. a prudent decision to wait out the storm sensible applies to action guided and restrained by good sense and rationality. a sensible woman who was not fooled by flattery sane stresses mental soundness, rationality, and levelheadedness. remained sane even in times of crises

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Human beings certainly like to think they're wise, and, in fact, the term "Homo sapiens" ("humankind") comes in part from the Latin word sapiens, meaning "wise" or "intelligent." "Sapiens" in turn comes from the verb "sapere," which means "to be wise" (and which also gave us "sage" and "savant"). "Sapiens" and "sapere" are also ancestors of our adjective "sapient," of course. "Sapient" came to us from Latin by way of Middle French and has been used in English to mean "wise" since the 15th century. In recent times it also has been used in anthropological contexts to mean "characteristic of modern humans."

Examples of sapient in a Sentence

an uncle who is always good for valuable insights and some sapient advice
Recent Examples on the Web The reason for this is that a focus on just four creature types (Party only cares about wizards, rogues, warriors and clerics) would have limited the design opportunities for the rest of the set, which includes plenty of non-sapient creatures. Joe Parlock, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Many wise and sapient social historians have written on the American cult, and invention, of the weekend. Adam Gopnik, Town & Country, 29 May 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sapient

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin sapient-, sapiens, from present participle of sapere to taste, be wise — more at sage

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The first known use of sapient was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Sapient.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on sapient

Britannica English: Translation of sapient for Arabic Speakers


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