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[per-sep-shuh n] /pərˈsɛp ʃən/
the act or faculty of perceiving, or apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding.
immediate or intuitive recognition or appreciation, as of moral, psychological, or aesthetic qualities; insight; intuition; discernment:
an artist of rare perception.
the result or product of perceiving, as distinguished from the act of perceiving; percept.
Psychology. a single unified awareness derived from sensory processes while a stimulus is present.
Law. the taking into possession of rents, crops, profits, etc.
Origin of perception
1350-1400; Middle English percepcioun (< Old French percepcïon) < Latin perceptiōn- (stem of perceptiō) comprehension, literally, a taking in. See percept, -ion
Related forms
perceptional, adjective
nonperception, noun
nonperceptional, adjective
reperception, noun
self-perception, noun
unperceptional, adjective
1. awareness, sense, recognition. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for perception
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But the perception of "how to do it" is precisely what most of us have been acquiring.

  • "He did; but—" and Crane looked at Faust, with patient toleration of his lack of perception.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • He could detect a design upon it when nobody else had any perception of the fact.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • If it had a new meaning that smote him to the heart, the change was in his perception, not in her.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • The moment Charley's logical faculty was excited his perception was impartial.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
British Dictionary definitions for perception


the act or the effect of perceiving
insight or intuition gained by perceiving
the ability or capacity to perceive
way of perceiving; awareness or consciousness; view: advertising affects the customer's perception of a product
the process by which an organism detects and interprets information from the external world by means of the sensory receptors
(law) the collection, receipt, or taking into possession of rents, crops, etc
Derived Forms
perceptional, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Latin perceptiō comprehension; see perceive
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for perception

late 14c., "receiving, collection," from Latin perceptionem (nominative perceptio) "perception, apprehension, a taking," from percipere "perceive" (see perceive). First used in the more literal sense of the Latin word; in secondary sense, "the taking cognizance of," it is recorded in English from 1610s. Meaning "intuitive or direct recognition of some innate quality" is from 1827.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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perception in Medicine

perception per·cep·tion (pər-sěp'shən)

  1. The process, act, or faculty of perceiving.

  2. Recognition and interpretation of sensory stimuli based chiefly on memory.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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