When we perceive something, we become aware of or notice it. Sometimes we perceive things by using our senses of sight, hearing, and smell.

Or we can use our mind to perceive things, which means that we are able to recognize or understand them. We can also perceive a person or thing as having certain qualities: Do you perceive yourself as a good student? The Latin root percipere means "to receive, understand," from the prefix per- "thoroughly" plus capere "to seize, take."

Definitions of perceive

v to become aware of through the senses

“I could perceive the ship coming over the horizon”
show 43 types...
hide 43 types...
feel, sense
perceive by a physical sensation, e.g., coming from the skin or muscles
perceive in terms of a past experience
pick up, receive
register (perceptual input)
perceive intuitively or through some inexplicable perceptive powers
perceive what is not there; have illusions
perceive incorrectly
catch, pick up
perceive with the senses quickly, suddenly, or momentarily
experience while sleeping
ache, hurt, suffer
feel physical pain
inhale the odor of; perceive by the olfactory sense
perceive via the tactile sense
perceive by sight or have the power to perceive by sight
sight, spy
catch sight of; to perceive with the eyes
perceive (sound) via the auditory sense
hear with intention
perceive by the sense of taste
perceive oneself to be in a certain condition or place
see through
perceive the true nature of
receive a communication from someone
divine by reading someone's palms
catch, get
suffer from the receipt of
catch a glimpse of or see briefly
feel a sudden sharp, local pain
prick, sting, twinge
cause a stinging pain
sniff, whiff
perceive by inhaling through the nose
nose, scent, wind
catch the scent of; get wind of
snuff, snuffle
sniff or smell inquiringly
get a noseful, get a whiff
smell strongly and intensely
see and understand, have a good eye
catch a glimpse, catch sight, get a look
see something for a brief time
behold, lay eyes on
see with attention
see double
see things as if they were there twice
descry, espy, spot, spy
catch sight of
detect, discover, find, notice, observe
discover or determine the existence, presence, or fact of
hear out
listen to every detail and give a full hearing to
listen in
listen quietly, without contributing to the conversation
advert, attend, give ear, hang, pay heed
give heed (to)
catch, overhear, take in
hear, usually without the knowledge of the speakers
catch, get
perceive by hearing
hark, harken, hearken
listen; used mostly in the imperative
eavesdrop, listen in
listen without the speaker's knowledge
savor, savour
taste appreciatively
be the source of great pain for

v become conscious of

“She finally perceived the futility of her protest”
sense, smell, smell out
become aware of not through the senses but instinctively
Type of:
realise, realize, see, understand
perceive (an idea or situation) mentally