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[sey-pee-uh nt] /ˈseɪ pi ənt/
having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment.
Origin of sapient
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English sapyent < Latin sapient- (stem of sapiēns, present participle of sapere to be wise, literally, to taste, have taste), equivalent to sapi- verb stem + -ent- -ent
Related forms
sapience, sapiency, noun
sapiently, adverb
unsapient, adjective
unsapiently, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sapient
Historical Examples
  • Then the sapient smile on the pot-boy's face ripened into speech.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • Then the group of women at the gate separated with many a sapient comment.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • Therefore why be sapient and solemn about it, like an editorial in a newspaper?

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James
  • (p. 012) "No, most sapient Jacques: fortunately I do not need comfort as you do."

    The Youth of Jefferson J. E. Cooke.
  • And the skipper gave his head a sapient nod, while the doctor shook his.

    The Ocean Cat's Paw George Manville Fenn
  • “No doubt,” said Fritz, laughing at this sapient declaration.

    Fritz and Eric John Conroy Hutcheson
  • On his way down he met the sapient interpreter, Blindi Bobi.

    The Pirate City R.M. Ballantyne
  • I think I see them at their work—these sapient trouble-tombs.

  • And what new instance of his immaculateness has induced this sapient belief?

    Alone Marion Harland
  • Can the sapient critics to whom I have been alluding take a hint?

British Dictionary definitions for sapient


(often ironic) wise or sagacious
Derived Forms
sapience, noun
sapiently, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin sapere to taste
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 sapient

"wise," late 15c. (early 15c. as a surname), from Old French sapient, from Latin sapientem (nominative sapiens), present participle of sapere "to taste, have taste, be wise," from PIE root *sep- "to taste, perceive" (cf. Old Saxon an-sebban "to perceive, remark," Old High German antseffen, Old English sefa "mind, understanding, insight").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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