Definition of perception in English:



  • 1The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.

    ‘the normal limits to human perception’
    • ‘In this heightened perception human beings appear as ‘fibres of light’ that assume the form of ‘luminous eggs’.’
    • ‘People who have extrasensory perception are said to be psychic.’
    • ‘Each organ of sense perception responds to a particular sensation that leads to cognition.’
    • ‘When her survey group becomes lost inside the cave, the author uses the experience to propel questions of the duplicity of maps and the ambiguities of human perception.’
    • ‘One such front involves the extension of human visual perception beyond visible wavelengths.’
    • ‘To bring science closer to human perception has been the main aim of my work.’
    • ‘When older, we also lose depth perception and the ability to distinguish contrast.’
    • ‘On the contrary, he does everything to avoid giving the space-time continuum an absolute status outside human perception.’
    • ‘Eyesight is a gift, as precious as life itself, since our experience, memory and way of thinking is intrinsically linked with our visual perception of the world.’
    • ‘Johnston in her introduction stresses the importance of examining the culture of the body because of its centrality to human perception and expression.’
    • ‘Yet this is just a psychological trick of our visual perception because the absolute dimensions of this notebook are really very, very small.’
    • ‘But three-dimensional perception and the ability to recognize complex objects such as the faces of family and friends remain severely impaired.’
    • ‘His particular speciality is visual perception to guide robots.’
    • ‘Her Ph.D. work combined research in art, visual perception and perceptual learning.’
    • ‘"It can drastically change not only our visual perception, but also our emotional response, " she said.’
    • ‘Intuition involves the use of senses other than the five typically considered the full range of human sensory perception.’
    • ‘Sharpen visual perception and increase ability to estimate accurately.’
    • ‘It is wise to never under-estimate human perception and the ability of the person on the end of the line to sense attitudes.’
    • ‘Insights into color perception are often crucial to understanding animal behavior, ecology, and speciation.’
    1. 1.1The state of being or process of becoming aware of something through the senses.
      ‘the perception of pain’
      • ‘Hypnosis was successful in reducing pain perception for all 12 participants.’
      • ‘There's something very different about the perception of pain or perception of disability when you believe and expect that a treatment will work.’
      • ‘Aromatherapy seems to foster deep relaxation, which has been shown to alter perceptions of pain.’
      • ‘I had strong awareness and perception of the things around me.’
      • ‘Part of the explanation is psychological: Pain perception is made much worse by worry, fear or the expectation of pain, he notes.’
      discernment, appreciation, recognition, realization, cognizance
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2A way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.
      ‘Hollywood's perception of the tastes of the American public’
      [count noun] ‘we need to challenge many popular perceptions of old age’
      • ‘Subjective perceptions were not directly associated with weaning outcomes.’
      • ‘He suggested people's perceptions of the situation did not always match the reality.’
      • ‘"We need to work towards changing the negative perception of our continent as a ' risky continent '.’
      • ‘Processes of care were important factors in patients' perceptions of the quality of the care they received.’
      • ‘Sleep deprivation, even if it's just for one night, can alter your perception of the world entirely.’
      • ‘In my judgment it is legitimate to have regard to public perception when considering the characteristics of a penal system.’
      • ‘On the other hand, these narratives may reflect popular perceptions of a historical reality.’
      • ‘All stakeholders shared the responsibility to transform this negative public perception of the province.’
      • ‘It is important that they not be judgmental of the victim and understand that individual perception and interpretation determine sexual harassment.’
      • ‘My step-father became my father-figure, shaping my perceptions of the world.’
      • ‘Children's perceptions of their academic competence were also compared with their actual grades.’
      • ‘Unproven claims cleverly mask the truth with false doctrines about nature's workings that distort unsuspecting perceptions of reality.’
      • ‘Instead, participants used rating scales that assessed their own subjective perception of conflict in their friendship relationships.’
      • ‘Such an approach further challenges popular perception.’
      • ‘Politicians tend to share this general public perception.’
      • ‘And that is what stands out most to me in regards to the public perception of magick.’
      • ‘The book radically challenged the public's perception of mental health and its treatment.’
      • ‘I'm not trying to influence people's tastes or change people's perceptions of the world.’
      • ‘To what extent are children's perceptions shaped by human evolution?’
      • ‘That's certainly the popular perception here in America too, but it's not confirmed by the facts.’
    3. 1.3Intuitive understanding and insight.
      ‘“He wouldn't have accepted,” said my mother with unusual perception’
      • ‘Cancer's perception and intuition combined with Capricorn's pragmatism, organization and ambition will provide an excellent business sense.’
      • ‘The urge of these acolytes is not dramatic, but mercantile - to traduce all personal history, to subvert all perception or insight into gain, or the hope of gain.’
      • ‘She totally keeps amazing me with her intuition, her perception and her intellect.’
      • ‘The second is the use of the eyes not just to see in the normal sense, but to gain insight, discernment, perception and precognition.’
      • ‘It is a unique cinematic experience, created by a young British / Indian filmmaker who has the courage of his perception and an understanding that movies are a visual medium.’
      • ‘Reorienting one's cognitive faculties so that such insight is possible is the rationale underlying the practice of yoga, and the resulting insight is called yogic perception.’
      • ‘You won't read this for the prose, the insight or the critical perception, but it's the fan book for fans who prefer lies, gossip and rumours to mundane day-to-day truth.’
      • ‘Their perception and insight are truly remarkable.’
      • ‘Each person makes his or her own decision according to personal perception and understanding.’
      • ‘You have the gifts of perception, extended vision, insight, and intuition and display an eagerness to display your full creative expression.’
      • ‘In this book, he demonstrates his perception and understanding of a complex reality.’
      • ‘Their perception and insight into people is frighteningly accurate.’
      • ‘The benefit of employing the collective perception and insight of these leaders is already apparent.’
      • ‘Honest and straightforward, this duo has amazingly accurate insight and perception.’
      • ‘It has been and is an elevating experience towards spiritual perception in painting.’
      • ‘He uses perception and intuition in his coaching style.’
      • ‘It also polarizes two kinds of knowledge: a truth that is grounded in meaning and perception, and a truth that is based on inert fact and prosaic reality.’
      • ‘In the evolving depth of his pieces you can track his personal growth, the changes in insight and perception born of his trek around the world.’
      insight, perceptiveness, percipience, perspicacity, perspicuity, understanding, keenness, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, quick-wittedness, intelligence, intuition, cleverness, incisiveness, trenchancy, wit, astuteness, shrewdness, acuteness, acuity, subtlety, clarity, discrimination, discernment, sensitivity, penetration, thoughtfulness, profundity
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4Zoology Psychology The neurophysiological processes, including memory, by which an organism becomes aware of and interprets external stimuli.
      • ‘It sometimes seems that all that is required to produce a durable long-term memory is perception of a meaningful stimulus event.’
      • ‘Therefore, perception of the induced stimulus was, in principle, to be determined by vection aftereffects alone.’
      • ‘Cognitive psychologists have abandoned their exclusive focus on reasoning, perception, and memory, and are rediscovering the importance of affective processes.’
      • ‘Having a working model of the brain, or even the incredibly complex neocortex, should help researchers understand processes like thought, perception and memory.’
      • ‘When the critical stimulus is compatible with the first response, the corresponding code is occupied and perception of that stimulus is impaired.’


Late Middle English: from Latin perceptio(n-), from the verb percipere seize, understand (see perceive).