Definition of sapient in English:



  • 1formal Wise, or attempting to appear wise.

    ‘members of the female quarter were more sapient but no less savage than the others’
    • ‘This may sound extremely unfair to our esteemed police force, to the hardworking prosecutors at the Attorney General's Office and the sapient judges who preside over our courts.’
    • ‘One was meant, as I'm sure the sapient looseletter will have noticed, for much finer things, much more noble pursuits.’
    • ‘The attentive and sapient reader will no doubt see what's coming here.’
    • ‘At the very far end of the rostrum one could just discern a tribunal of sapient figures seated around a table.’
    • ‘One thing though, I'd never before so personally perceived nature's absolute mastery at using the unwitting collaboration of its sapient members to mimic its fungal elements.’
    wise, sensible, prudent, politic, shrewd, astute, canny, sagacious, common-sense, commonsensical, sound, well advised, well judged, well thought out, considered, thoughtful, perceptive, discerning, clear-sighted, insightful, far-sighted, percipient, discriminating, informed, intelligent, clever, enlightened, logical, rational
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    1. 1.1 (chiefly in science fiction) intelligent.
      ‘sapient life forms’
      • ‘In the wake of their travels, they have left half of the galaxy devoid of sapient life, primarily through the use of their Marauder starships.’
      penetrating, acute, sharp, sharp-witted, razor-sharp, keen, rapier-like, astute, shrewd, trenchant, piercing, perceptive, insightful, percipient, perspicacious, discerning, analytical, intelligent, canny, clever, smart, quick
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  • 2Relating to the human species (Homo sapiens )

    ‘our sapient ancestors of 40,000 years ago’
    • ‘Perhaps in a brief quiet contemplation that this same view was experienced by our modern sapient ancestors over 164,000 years ago.’


  • A human of the species Homo sapiens.

    • ‘As for my fellow sapients, I have no desire to control their actions.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin sapient- ‘being wise’, from the verb sapere.