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 formsper·cep·tion·al, adjectivenon·per·cep·tion, nounnon·per·cep·tion·al, adjectivere·per·cep·tion, nounself-per·cep·tion, nounun·per·cep·tion·al, adjective

Synonyms for perception Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for perception

Contemporary Examples of perception

Historical Examples of perception

  • 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.


    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; viewadvertising 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 Formsperceptional, adjective

Word Origin for perception

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

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

perception in Medicine




The process, act, or faculty of perceiving.
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.