[sey-pee-uh nt]


having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment.

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

Examples from the Web for sapient

Historical Examples of sapient

  • 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



often ironic wise or sagacious
Derived Formssapience, nounsapiently, adverb

Word Origin for sapient

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

"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