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See more synonyms for perspicacity on Thesaurus.com
  1. keenness of mental perception and understanding; discernment; penetration.
  2. Archaic. keen vision.
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Origin of perspicacity

1540–50; earlier perspicacite < Late Latin perspicācitās sharpness of sight, equivalent to perspicāci- (stem of perspicāx sharp-sighted; see perspicuous) + -tās -ty2


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for perspicacity

Historical Examples

  • Your reading of my character does honour to your perspicacity.

    Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard

    Joseph Conrad

  • I am not in the least disconcerted by this display of perspicacity.

    Notes on My Books

    Joseph Conrad

  • The dear woman had known nothing of the kind and her perspicacity amazed her.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

  • He stopped there with such an air of triumph and perspicacity that I was angry with him.

    In Direst Peril

    David Christie Murray

  • Yet the perspicacity that he seldom wanted failed him at that moment.

    Lectures on the French Revolution

    John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

Word Origin and History for perspicacity


1540s, from Middle French perspicacité (15c.) and directly from Late Latin perspicacitas "sharp-sightedness, discernment," from Latin perspicax "sharp-sighted, having the power of seeing through," from perspicere "look through, look closely at" (see perspective).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper