verb (used with object), per·ceived, per·ceiv·ing.

to become aware of, know, or identify by means of the senses: I perceived an object looming through the mist.
to recognize, discern, envision, or understand: I perceive a note of sarcasm in your voice. This is a nice idea but I perceive difficulties in putting it into practice.

Origin of perceive

1250–1300; Middle English perceiven < Anglo-French *perceivre, for perçoivre < Latin percipere to lay hold of, grasp, equivalent to per- per- + -cipere, combining form of capere to take
Related formsper·ceiv·ed·ly [per-see-vid-lee, -seevd-] /pərˈsi vɪd li, -ˈsivd-/, adverbper·ceiv·ed·ness, nounper·ceiv·er, nounper·ceiv·ing·ness, nounnon·per·ceiv·ing, adjectivere·per·ceive, verb (used with object), re·per·ceived, re·per·ceiv·ing.self-per·ceiv·ing, adjectiveun·per·ceived, adjectiveun·per·ceiv·ing, adjectivewell-per·ceived, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for unperceived

Historical Examples of unperceived

  • He was unperceived by Friedhelm and Sigmund, who were looking after the procession.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • The death is slow and unperceived, but it is sure; and it is a death that has no resurrection.

  • He has followed me, unperceived, all the way from home—I would not lose him for fifty pounds.

  • The Vicomte—a little man, as I have said—slipped in unperceived.


    Henry Seton Merriman

  • So softly he reached her, that for a moment he was unperceived.

    The Young Duke

    Benjamin Disraeli

British Dictionary definitions for unperceived



to become aware of (something) through the senses, esp the sight; recognize or observe
(tr; may take a clause as object) to come to comprehend; grasp
Derived Formsperceivable, adjectiveperceivability, nounperceivably, adverbperceiver, noun

Word Origin for perceive

C13: from Old French perçoivre, from Latin percipere seize entirely, from per- (thoroughly) + capere to grasp
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 unperceived

mid-14c., from un- (1) "not" + past participle of perceive (v.).



c.1300, via Anglo-French parceif, Old North French *perceivre (Old French perçoivre) "perceive, notice, see; recognize, understand," from Latin percipere "obtain, gather, seize entirely, take possession of," also, figuratively, "to grasp with the mind, learn, comprehend," literally "to take entirely," from per "thoroughly" (see per) + capere "to grasp, take" (see capable).

Replaced Old English ongietan. Both the Latin senses were in Old French, though the primary sense of Modern French percevoir is literal, "to receive, collect" (rents, taxes, etc.), while English uses the word almost always in the metaphorical sense. Related: Perceived; perceiving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

unperceived in Medicine




To become aware of directly through any of the senses, especially sight or hearing.
To achieve understanding of; apprehend.
Related formsper•ceiva•ble adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.