Definition of sapient in English:



  • 1formal Wise, or attempting to appear wise.

    • ‘At the very far end of the rostrum one could just discern a tribunal of sapient figures seated around a table.’
    • ‘One was meant, as I'm sure the sapient looseletter will have noticed, for much finer things, much more noble pursuits.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The attentive and sapient reader will no doubt see what's coming here.’
    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.