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sapient

[sey-pee-uh nt]
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adjective
  1. having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment.
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Origin of sapient

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 formssa·pi·ence, sa·pi·en·cy, nounsa·pi·ent·ly, adverbun·sa·pi·ent, adjectiveun·sa·pi·ent·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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."

  • And the skipper gave his head a sapient nod, while the doctor shook his.

    The Ocean Cat's Paw

    George Manville Fenn


British Dictionary definitions for sapient

sapient

adjective
  1. often ironic wise or sagacious
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Derived Formssapience, nounsapiently, 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

Word Origin and History for sapient

adj.

"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").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper