Definition of sapient
: possessing or expressing great sagacity
sapient was our Word of the Day on 08/17/2013. Hear the podcast!
Examples of sapient in a sentence
an uncle who is always good for valuable insights and some sapient advice
Did You Know?
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."
Origin and Etymology of sapient
Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin sapient-, sapiens, from present participle of sapere to taste, be wise — more at sage
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of sapient
Seen and Heard
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