Definition of percipient in US English:



  • (of a person) having a good understanding of things; perceptive.

    ‘he is a percipient interpreter of the public mood’
    • ‘In that, he may have been more percipient than he could have realised at the time.’
    • ‘In chapter 2, which examines the British case, there are some percipient observations which counter the once familiar view that nothing in Britain matched the importance which American railroads exerted in their economy.’
    • ‘He is a percipient young man and can pick up opponents' weaknesses very quickly.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, is it the case that the ‘auctioneers’ are without doubt the more percipient of the regulators?’
    • ‘My friend was far more informed, articulate, and percipient than I was.’
    • ‘Always inclined to hypochondria, the valedictory volume of his diaries catalogues his decline with percipient accuracy.’
    • ‘The small percipient eyes are screwed up, and wrinkled from his repeated minute scrutinies.’
    • ‘The ontological principle of sociality is a fundamentally evolutionary concept that describes reality as a process in which percipient events adjust to new situations and adapt themselves to a variety of consentient sets.’
    • ‘It is lucidly and coherently structured around a single axiom, a single percipient insight into the nature not only of tyranny, but implicitly of the State apparatus itself…’
    • ‘But the willpower of those percipient priests had stuck in his mind like a stupidly swallowed toothpick in the throat.’
    • ‘He never travelled to any of the European capitals outside Vienna, and he lacked percipient champions who could both recognize his worth and noise his talents abroad.’
    • ‘For years your columnist has been the smartest and most percipient commentator on matters political and was always ahead of the posse.’
    astute, perceptive, shrewd, discerning, perspicacious, sharp, sharp-witted, acute, penetrating, discriminating, clear-sighted, clear-eyed, far-sighted, intelligent, clever, canny, intuitive, quick, alert, sensible, judicious, wise, sagacious, sage, incisive, sharp-sighted, far-seeing, open-eyed, understanding, responsive, sensitive
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  • (especially in philosophy or with reference to psychic phenomena) a person who is able to perceive things.

    • ‘The experimenter identified problems in visualization protocols, so percipients were instructed to formalize their visualization techniques amongst themselves.’
    • ‘In both modes, three percipients would be used, and the individual mentations about each site would be combined into a single mentation pertinent to that site, which was to be ranked by an independent judge.’
    • ‘Results indicated that one of the percipients ' reports should be evaluated with special caution.’
    • ‘Both judges and percipients may detect creases, marks, smudges, temperature differences or other artifacts that result if actual targets have been handled and then mixed in with targets from a pool for judging.’
    • ‘This instruction was necessary as some percipients seemed to have deployed protocols that may have encouraged retrocognition and precognition rather than real-time remote viewing.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin percipient- ‘seizing, understanding’, from the verb percipere.