What does perceive mean?

Definitions for perceive

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word perceive.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. perceive, comprehendverb

    to become aware of through the senses

    "I could perceive the ship coming over the horizon"

  2. perceiveverb

    become conscious of

    "She finally perceived the futility of her protest"


  1. perceiveverb

    To see, to be aware of, to understand.

  2. Etymology: From perceiven, from percevoir, perceveir, from percipere, past participle perceptus, from per + capere; see capable. Compare conceive, deceive, receive.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To PERCEIVEverb

    Etymology: percipio, Lat.

    When you above perceive me like a crow,
    That it is place which lessens and sets off. William Shakespeare.

    Jesus perceived in his spirit, that they so reasoned within themselves. Mark ii. 8.

    His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not. Job xiv. 21.

    ’Till we ourselves see it with our own eyes, and perceive it by our own understandings, we are still in the dark. John Locke.

    How do they come to know that themselves think; when they themselves do not perceive it. John Locke.

    The upper regions of the air perceive the collection of the matter of tempests before the air here below. Francis Bacon.


  1. perceive

    Perception (from Latin perceptio 'gathering, receiving') is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. All perception involves signals that go through the nervous system, which in turn result from physical or chemical stimulation of the sensory system. Vision involves light striking the retina of the eye; smell is mediated by odor molecules; and hearing involves pressure waves. Perception is not only the passive receipt of these signals, but it is also shaped by the recipient's learning, memory, expectation, and attention. Sensory input is a process that transforms this low-level information to higher-level information (e.g., extracts shapes for object recognition). The process that follows connects a person's concepts and expectations (or knowledge), restorative and selective mechanisms (such as attention) that influence perception. Perception depends on complex functions of the nervous system, but subjectively seems mostly effortless because this processing happens outside conscious awareness. Since the rise of experimental psychology in the 19th century, psychology's understanding of perception has progressed by combining a variety of techniques. Psychophysics quantitatively describes the relationships between the physical qualities of the sensory input and perception. Sensory neuroscience studies the neural mechanisms underlying perception. Perceptual systems can also be studied computationally, in terms of the information they process. Perceptual issues in philosophy include the extent to which sensory qualities such as sound, smell or color exist in objective reality rather than in the mind of the perceiver.Although people traditionally viewed the senses as passive receptors, the study of illusions and ambiguous images has demonstrated that the brain's perceptual systems actively and pre-consciously attempt to make sense of their input. There is still active debate about the extent to which perception is an active process of hypothesis testing, analogous to science, or whether realistic sensory information is rich enough to make this process unnecessary.The perceptual systems of the brain enable individuals to see the world around them as stable, even though the sensory information is typically incomplete and rapidly varying. Human and other animal brains are structured in a modular way, with different areas processing different kinds of sensory information. Some of these modules take the form of sensory maps, mapping some aspect of the world across part of the brain's surface. These different modules are interconnected and influence each other. For instance, taste is strongly influenced by smell.


  1. perceive

    To perceive means to become aware or conscious of something through the senses such as sight, sound, touch, smell, or taste. It also refers to the interpretation or understanding of information or circumstances, based on one's own mental and emotional processing.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Perceiveverb

    to obtain knowledge of through the senses; to receive impressions from by means of the bodily organs; to take cognizance of the existence, character, or identity of, by means of the senses; to see, hear, or feel; as, to perceive a distant ship; to perceive a discord

  2. Perceiveverb

    to take intellectual cognizance of; to apprehend by the mind; to be convinced of by direct intuition; to note; to remark; to discern; to see; to understand

  3. Perceiveverb

    to be affected of influented by

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Perceive

    per-sēv′, v.t. to become aware of through the senses: to get knowledge of by the mind: to see: to understand: to discern.—adj. Perceiv′able (same as Perceptible).—adv. Perceiv′ably (same as Perceptibly).—ns. Perceiv′er; Perceiv′ing (Bacon), perception. [O. Fr. percever—L. percipĕre, perceptumper, perfectly, capĕre, to take.]

Editors Contribution

  1. perceive

    To be aware of through the senses.

    He did perceive her intention accurately as they were so loving towards each other.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 12, 2020  

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British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'perceive' in Verbs Frequency: #573

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of perceive in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of perceive in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of perceive in a Sentence

  1. Andrew Small:

    China does not tend to perceive Afghanistan through the prism of opportunities ; it is almost entirely about managing threats.

  2. Michael Oshinsky:

    When National Institutes of Health comes to pain, because of that subjective nature of National Institutes of Health, the patient has a lot of control over what they perceive, maybe a bit for inflammation, there's some evidence.

  3. Jessica Kitt:

    We wanted to create a tool that might enable ordinary people to better grasp what might unfold, to do that we are creating a way to tap into an aspect of the visual system. Our visual world requires us to perceive and use uncertainty, and so the visual system is inherently equipped to interpret those types of information. Leveraging these capabilities with the right visualization might help people understand the forecast and make better decisions.

  4. Kurt Straif:

    It is difficult to perceive how a strong working group of 32 internationally renowned experts would suddenly not have a balance anymore because of one single expert who had a conflict.

  5. Nabarun Dasgupta:

    We know that benzodiazepines and opioids can suppress your breathing, on the other hand, we have all these physicians who have been prescribing opioids and benzos together for years to tens of millions of patients... [ and ] maybe don't perceive this to be as big a risk.

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Translations for perceive

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"perceive." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/perceive>.

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    a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel
    A rogue
    B bowel
    C apex
    D aerial

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